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Supply Side Hysterisis: The Case of the Canadian Unemployment InsuranceSystem


  • Thomas Lemieux
  • W. Bentley MacLeod


This paper presents results from a 1971 natural experiment carried out by the Canadian government on the unemployment insurance system. At that time, they dramatically increased the generosity of the system. We find that the propensity to collect UI increases with a first time exposure to the system. Hence as more individuals experience unemployment their lifetime use of the system increases. This supply side hysterisis effect may explain why unemployment has steadily increased over the 1972 - 1992 period, even though the generosity of unemployment insurance did not.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Lemieux & W. Bentley MacLeod, 1998. "Supply Side Hysterisis: The Case of the Canadian Unemployment InsuranceSystem," NBER Working Papers 6732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6732
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    Cited by:

    1. MacLeod, W Bentley, 2016. "Human capital: Linking behavior to rational choice via dual process theory," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 20-31.
    2. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2012. "The Long-Term Effects of UI Extensions on Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 514-519, May.
    3. Lemieux, Thomas & MacLeod, W. Bentley, 2000. "Supply side hysteresis: the case of the Canadian unemployment insurance system," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 139-170, October.
    4. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till M. von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2012. "The Long-Term Effects of Unemployment Insurance Extensions on Employment," NBER Working Papers 17814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Martin Ljunge, 2012. "The Spirit of the Welfare State? Adaptation in the Demand for Social Insurance," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(3), pages 187-223.
    6. Sumit Agarwal & John C Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2008. "Learning in the Credit Card Market," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002028, David K. Levine.
    7. Kuhn, Peter J. & Riddell, Chris, 2006. "The Long-Term Effects of a Generous Income Support Program: Unemployment Insurance in New Brunswick and Maine, 1940-1991," IZA Discussion Papers 1919, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Katherin Ross Phillips & Timothy Smeeding, 1999. "Social Protection for the Poor in the Developed World: The Evidence from LIS," LIS Working papers 204, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    9. Jean-Baptiste Michau, 2013. "Unemployment Insurance And Cultural Transmission: Theory And Application To European Unemployment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(6), pages 1320-1347, December.
    10. Corak, Miles & Chen, Wen-Hao, 2003. "Firms, Industries, and Unemployment Insurance: An Analysis Using Employer-Employee Data," IZA Discussion Papers 811, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Corak, Miles & Gustafsson, Björn Anders & Österberg, Torun, 2000. "Intergenerational Influences on the Receipt of Unemployment Insurance in Canada and Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 184, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Dagenais, M. & Mohnen, P. & Therrien, P., 1997. "Do Canadian Firms Respond to Fiscal Incentives To Research and Development?," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 97b05, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
    13. Chen, Wen-Hao & Corak, Miles, 2005. "Entreprises, industries et assurance-chomage : une analyse des donnees sur les employeurs et les employes recueillies au Canada," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche 2005260f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.
    14. Kroft, Kory, 2008. "Takeup, social multipliers and optimal social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 722-737, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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