IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pri/indrel/573.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do Extended Unemployment Benefits Lengthen Unemployment Spells? Evidence from Recent Cycles in the U.S. Labor Market

Author

Listed:
  • Henry S. Farber

    (Princeton University, NBER, IZA)

  • Robert G. Valletta

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, IZA)

Abstract

In response to the Great Recession and sustained labor market downturn, the availability of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits was extended to new historical highs in the United States, up to 99 weeks as of late 2009 into 2012. We exploit variation in the timing and size of UI benefit extensions across states to estimate the overall impact of these extensions on unemployment duration, comparing the experience with the prior extension of benefits (up to 72 weeks) during the much milder downturn in the early 2000s. Using monthly matched individual data from the U.S. Current Population Survey (CPS) for the periods 2000-2005 and 2007-2012, we estimate the effects of UI extensions on unemployment transitions and duration. We rely on individual variation in benefit availability based on the duration of unemployment spells and the length of UI benefits available in the state and month, conditional on state economic conditions and individual characteristics. We find a small but statistically significant reduction in the unemployment exit rate and a small increase in the expected duration of unemployment arising from both sets of UI extensions. The effect on exits and duration is primarily due to a reduction in exits from the labor force rather than a decrease in exits to employment (the job finding rate). The magnitude of the overall effect on exits and duration is similar across the two episodes of benefit extensions. Although the overall efect of UI extensions on exits from unemployment is small, it implies a substantial effect of extended benefits on the steady-state share of unemployment in the cross-section that is long-term.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry S. Farber & Robert G. Valletta, 2013. "Do Extended Unemployment Benefits Lengthen Unemployment Spells? Evidence from Recent Cycles in the U.S. Labor Market," Working Papers 1450, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:573
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://dataspace.princeton.edu/bitstream/88435/dsp01th83kz40p/3/57341713.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Saez, Emmanuel & Landais, Camille & Michaillat, Pascal, 2010. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 8132, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 113-118, May.
    3. Rafael Lalive & Camille Landais & Josef Zweimüller, 2015. "Market Externalities of Large Unemployment Insurance Extension Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(12), pages 3564-3596, December.
    4. Marinescu, Ioana, 2017. "The general equilibrium impacts of unemployment insurance: Evidence from a large online job board," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 14-29.
    5. Rothstein, Jesse, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt5611t356, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    6. Kory Kroft & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2016. "Should Unemployment Insurance Vary with the Unemployment Rate? Theory and Evidence," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 83(3), pages 1092-1124.
    7. Rebecca M. Blank & David E. Card, 1991. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 106(4), pages 1157-1189.
    8. Jesse Rothstein, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(2 (Fall)), pages 143-213.
    9. Katz, Lawrence F. & Meyer, Bruce D., 1990. "The impact of the potential duration of unemployment benefits on the duration of unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 45-72, February.
    10. Johannes F. Schmieder† & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2011. "The Effects Of Extended Unemployment Insurance Over The Business Cycle: Evidence From Regression Discontinuity Estimates Over Twenty Years," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-063, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    11. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, April.
    12. Card, David & Levine, Phillip B., 2000. "Extended benefits and the duration of UI spells: evidence from the New Jersey extended benefit program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 107-138, October.
    13. Phillip B. Levine, 1993. "Spillover Effects between the Insured and Uninsured Unemployed," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(1), pages 73-86, October.
    14. Michael W. L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2010. "The Labor Market in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
    15. David R. Howell & Bert M. Azizoglu, 2011. "Unemployment Benefits and Work Incentives: The U.S. Labor Market in the Great Recession (revised)," Working Papers wp257_revised, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    16. Marcus Hagedorn & Fatih Karahan & Iourii Manovskii & Kurt Mitman, 2013. "Unemployment Benefits and Unemployment in the Great Recession: The Role of Macro Effects," NBER Working Papers 19499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. David R. Howell & Bert M. Azizoglu, 2011. "Unemployment benefits and work incentives: the US labour market in the Great Recession," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press and Oxford Review of Economic Policy Limited, vol. 27(2), pages 221-240.
    18. Abowd, John M & Zellner, Arnold, 1985. "Estimating Gross Labor-Force Flows," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 254-283, June.
    19. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, April.
    20. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
    21. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2012. "The Effects of Extended Unemployment Insurance Over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Regression Discontinuity Estimates Over 20 Years," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 127(2), pages 701-752.
    22. Poterba, James M & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Reporting Errors and Labor Market Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1319-1338, November.
    23. Shigeru Fujita, 2010. "Economic effects of the unemployment insurance benefit," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q4, pages 20-27.
    24. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance Takeup Rates and the After-Tax Value of Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 112(3), pages 913-937.
    25. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "A Macroeconomic Theory of Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 16526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Poterba, James M & Summers, Lawrence H, 1995. "Unemployment Benefits and Labor Market Transitions: A Multinomial Logit Model with Errors in Classification," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 207-216, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Robert Valletta, 2014. "Recent extensions of U.S. unemployment benefits: search responses in alternative labor market states," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-25, December.
    2. Arash Nekoei & Andrea Weber, 2017. "Does Extending Unemployment Benefits Improve Job Quality?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 527-561, February.
    3. Jesse Rothstein, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(2 (Fall)), pages 143-213.
    4. Rafael Lalive & Camille Landais & Josef Zweimüller, 2015. "Market Externalities of Large Unemployment Insurance Extension Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(12), pages 3564-3596, December.
    5. Rothstein, Jesse & Valletta, Robert G., 2014. "Scraping By: Income and Program Participation After the Loss of Extended Unemployment Benefits," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt74x2f4jh, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    6. Konstantinos Tatsiramos & Jan C. Ours, 2014. "Labor Market Effects Of Unemployment Insurance Design," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 284-311, April.
    7. Jesse Rothstein & Robert G. Valletta, 2017. "Scraping by: Income and Program Participation After the Loss of Extended Unemployment Benefits," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(4), pages 880-908, September.
    8. Elira Kuka, 2020. "Quantifying the Benefits of Social Insurance: Unemployment Insurance and Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 490-505, July.
    9. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2018. "A Macroeconomic Approach to Optimal Unemployment Insurance: Applications," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 182-216, May.
    10. Camille Landais, 2015. "Assessing the Welfare Effects of Unemployment Benefits Using the Regression Kink Design," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 243-278, November.
    11. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter, 2016. "The Effects of Unemployment Insurance Benefits: New Evidence and Interpretation," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 547-581, October.
    12. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01th83kz40p is not listed on IDEAS
    13. East, Chloe N. & Kuka, Elira, 2015. "Reexamining the consumption smoothing benefits of Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 32-50.
    14. Kory Kroft & Kavan Kucko & Etienne Lehmann & Johannes Schmieder, 2020. "Optimal Income Taxation with Unemployment and Wage Responses: A Sufficient Statistics Approach," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 254-292, February.
    15. Andrew C. Johnston & Alexandre Mas, 2018. "Potential Unemployment Insurance Duration and Labor Supply: The Individual and Market-Level Response to a Benefit Cut," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(6), pages 2480-2522.
    16. Serdar Birinci & Kurt Gerrard See, 2018. "How Should Unemployment Insurance vary over the Business Cycle?," 2018 Meeting Papers 69, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2016. "The Limited Macroeconomic Effects of Unemployment Benefit Extensions," NBER Working Papers 22163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Nakajima, Makoto, 2012. "A quantitative analysis of unemployment benefit extensions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 686-702.
    19. Marco Di Maggio & Amir Kermani, 2016. "The Importance of Unemployment Insurance as an Automatic Stabilizer," NBER Working Papers 22625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Heinrich Hock & Walter Nicholson & Karen Needels & Joanne Lee & Priyanka Anand, "undated". "Additional Unemployment Compensation Benefits During the Great Recession: Recipients and Their Post-Claim Outcomes," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 881bfec473cb45498e8392657, Mathematica Policy Research.
    21. Marinescu, Ioana, 2017. "The general equilibrium impacts of unemployment insurance: Evidence from a large online job board," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 14-29.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment insurance; unemployment duration;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:573. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Bobray Bordelon (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/irprius.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.