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Eligibility Criteria for Unemployment Benefits: Quantitative Indicators for OECD and EU Countries


  • Danielle Venn



Eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits, which require recipients to actively look for work, take up suitable job offers or take part in active labour market programmes (ALMPs), or risk benefit sanctions, can play an important role in offsetting the negative impact of generous unemployment benefits on employment incentives. This paper presents information on the strictness of eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits for 36 OECD and/or EU member countries. It covers entitlement conditions (employment and/or contribution requirements to gain access to benefits and sanctions for voluntary unemployment), job-search requirements (availability requirements during ALMPs and suitable work criteria), monitoring of job-search effort and sanctions for refusing a job offer or ALMP placement. These qualitative data are then used to compile a composite indicator of the strictness of eligibility criteria and some comparisons are made with the results of a similar exercise for earlier periods. This indicator complements existing cross-country indicators relating to unemployment benefits, such as net replacement rate data from the OECD Tax and Benefits database and data on ALMP expenditure compiled annually by Eurostat and the OECD. Les critères d’éligibilité aux allocations de chômage, comme l’obligation de chercher activement un emploi, d’accepter les offres d’emploi convenables ou de participer à des programmes actifs du marché du travail (PAMT), ou bien le risque de sanction par rapport aux prestations, peuvent jouer un rôle important pour compenser l’effet négatif des allocations de chômage généreuses sur les incitations à l’emploi. Ce document présente des informations sur la rigueur des conditions d’éligibilité pour les allocations de chômage dans 36 pays de l’OCDE et/ou membres de l’UE. Il décrit les conditions d’accès aux prestations (période d’emploi et/ou de contribution requise et sanctions en cas de chômage volontaire), les obligations de recherche d’emploi (disponibilité pour les participants aux PAMT et critère d’emploi convenable), le contrôle des efforts de recherche d’emploi et les sanctions en cas de refus d’une offre d’emploi ou d’une proposition de participation à une mesure active du marché du travail. Ces données qualitatives sont ensuite utilisées pour construire un indicateur composite de la rigueur des critères d’éligibilité et effectuer des comparaisons avec des résultats d’exercices similaires pour des périodes antérieures. Cet indicateur complète les autres indicateurs disponibles relatifs aux prestations de chômage, tel les taux de remplacement issus de la base de données de l’OCDE prestations et salaires et les données sur les dépenses publiques des PAMT compilées annuellement par Eurostat et l’OCDE.

Suggested Citation

  • Danielle Venn, 2012. "Eligibility Criteria for Unemployment Benefits: Quantitative Indicators for OECD and EU Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 131, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:131-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Beblavý, Miroslav & Lenaerts, Karolien & Maselli, Ilaria, 2017. "Design of a European Unemployment Benefit Scheme," CEPS Papers 12263, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    2. van Ours, Jan C., 2015. "The Great Recession was not so Great," CEPR Discussion Papers 10376, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Immervoll, Herwig, 2012. "Reforming the Benefit System to 'Make Work Pay': Options and Priorities in a Weak Labour Market," IZA Policy Papers 50, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Mazur, Karol, 2016. "Can welfare abuse be welfare improving?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 11-28.
    5. Ronald Bachmann & Daniel Baumgarten, 2013. "How do the unemployed search for a job? – Evidence from the EU Labour Force Survey," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-25, December.
    6. Sarah Marchal & Natascha Van Mechelen, 2014. "A new kid in town? Active inclusion in European minimum income schemes," ImPRovE Working Papers 14/07, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.

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