IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Pro-cyclical Unemployment Benefits? Optimal Policy in an Equilibrium Business Cycle Model

  • Stanislav Rabinovich

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Kurt Mitman

    (University of Pennsylvania)

We study the optimal provision of unemployment insurance (UI) over the business cycle. We consider an equilibrium Mortensen-Pissarides search and matching model with risk-averse workers and aggregate shocks to labor productivity. Both the vacancy creation decisions of firms and the search effort decisions of workers respond endogenously to aggregate shocks as well as to changes in UI policy. We characterize the optimal history-dependent UI policy. We find that, all else equal, the optimal benefit is decreasing in current productivity and decreasing in current unemployment. Optimal benefits are therefore lowest when current productivity is high and current unemployment is high. The optimal path of benefits reacts non-monotonically to a productivity shock. Following a drop in productivity, benefits initially rise in order to provide short-run relief to the unemployed and stabilize wages, but then fall significantly below their pre-recession level, in order to speed up the subsequent recovery. Under the optimal policy, the path of benefits is pro-cyclical overall. As compared to the existing US UI system, the optimal history-dependent benefits smooth cyclical fluctuations in unemployment and deliver non-negligible welfare gains.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2011/paper_1247.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 1247.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:1247
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Fax: 1-314-444-8731
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance Over the Business Cycle," CEP Discussion Papers dp1078, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Fishe, Raymond P H, 1982. "Unemployment Insurance and the Reservation Wage of the Unemployed," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(1), pages 12-17, February.
  3. Andersen, Torben M. & Svarer, Michael, 2010. "Business Cycle Dependent Unemployment Insurance," IZA Discussion Papers 5196, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Garey Ramey & Wouter J. den Haan & Joel Watson, 2000. "Job Destruction and Propagation of Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 482-498, June.
  5. Robert Shimer & Ivan Werning, 2008. "Liquidity and Insurance for the Unemployed," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1922-42, December.
  6. Martin Feldstein & James M. Poterba, 1982. "Unemployment Insurance and Reservation Wages," NBER Working Papers 1011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," 2005 Meeting Papers 460, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Cahuc, Pierre & Lehmann, Etienne, 2000. "Should unemployment benefits decrease with the unemployment spell?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 135-153, July.
  9. Simon Burgess & Helene Turon, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies – A Comment," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 05/573, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  10. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  11. Nakajima, Makoto, 2012. "A quantitative analysis of unemployment benefit extensions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 686-702.
  12. Lehmann E. & Van Der Linden B., 2004. "On the Optimality of Search Matching Equilibrium when workers are risk adverse," Working Papers ERMES 0406, ERMES, University Paris 2.
  13. Steven Shavell & Laurence Weiss, 1978. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 503, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  14. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1999. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 893-928, October.
  15. Adrian Masters & Melvyn Coles, 2004. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in a Matching Equilibrium," Discussion Papers 04-12, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  16. Michael Kiley, 2002. "How Should Unemployment Benefits Respond to the Business Cycle?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2002 167, Society for Computational Economics.
  17. Fredriksson, P. & Holmlund, B., 1998. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Papers 1998-2, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  18. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  19. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  20. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-38, April.
  21. Baily, Martin Neil, 1978. "Some aspects of optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 379-402, December.
  22. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "A Macroeconomic Theory of Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 16526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Sánchez, Juan M., 2008. "Optimal state-contingent unemployment insurance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 348-357, March.
  24. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed011:1247. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.