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Employment Insurance and the Business Cycle

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  • Pollak, Andreas

Abstract

This paper quantitatively investigates the scope for improving welfare by making aspects of the unemployment insurance (UI) system depend on the state of the business cycle. A particular focus is the Canadian system of "Employment Insurance" (EI), which is designed in such a way that the generosity of benefits depends on the state of the macroeconomy. Simulations of a life-cycle model with heterogeneous agents and search frictions confirm the expectation that optimal UI systems are characterized by a substantial increase in generosity during recessions, when adverse labour market conditions reduce the importance of moral hazard while increasing the need for consumption insurance. It turns out, however, that the welfare improvements resulting from this sort of temporal differentiation of benefits are extremely small. The insurance against business cycle effects inherent in the Canadian EI system is welfare enhancing when considered in isolation; this insurance effect is, however, dominated by the welfare implications of the inter-regional redistribution effected by the system.

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  • Pollak, Andreas, 2013. "Employment Insurance and the Business Cycle," MPRA Paper 49358, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49358
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment insurance; job search; business cycle;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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