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Unemployment Benefits and Unemployment in the Great Recession: The Role of Macro Effects

  • Kurt Mitman

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Iourii Manovskii

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Fatih Karahan

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

  • Marcus Hagedorn

    (Institute of Advanced Studies)

We exploit policy discontinuity at U.S. state borders to identify the effects of unemployment insurance policies on unemployment. We find large effects of unemployment benefit extensions on unemployment. In fact, the estimates imply that most of the persistent increase in unemployment during the Great Recession can be accounted for by the unprecedented extensions of unemployment benefit eligibility. In contrast to the existing literature that mainly focused on estimating the effects of benefit duration on job search and acceptance strategies of the unemployed – the micro effect – we focus on measuring the general equilibrium macro effect that operates primarily through the response of the job creation to unemployment benefit extensions. We find that it is the latter effect that is very important quantitatively.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 1260.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:1260
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. James S. Costain & Michael Reiter, 2003. "Business cycles, unemployment insurance and the calibration of matching models," Economics Working Papers 872, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2006.
  2. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  3. Card, David & Chetty, Raj & Weber, Andrea, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," IZA Discussion Papers 2590, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  5. Casey B. Mulligan, 2009. "Means-Tested Mortgage Modification: Homes Saved or Income Destroyed?," NBER Working Papers 15281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Thomas J. Holmes, 1998. "The Effect of State Policies on the Location of Manufacturing: Evidence from State Borders," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 667-705, August.
  8. Dube, Andrajit & Lester, T. William & Reich, Michael, 2010. "Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt86w5m90m, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  9. Kyle F. Herkenhoff & Lee E. Ohanian, 2012. "Foreclosure delay and U.S. unemployment," Working Papers 2012-017, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  10. Haefke, Christian & Sonntag, Marcus & van Rens, Thijs, 2012. "Wage Rigidity and Job Creation," CEPR Discussion Papers 8968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Jed Kolko & David Neumark & Marisol Cuellar Mejia, 2011. "What Do Business Climate Indexes Teach Us About State Policy and Economic Growth?," NBER Working Papers 16968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Casey B. Mulligan, 2008. "A Depressing Scenario: Mortgage Debt Becomes Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 14514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  14. Donald W.K. Andrews, 2004. "Cross-section Regression with Common Shocks," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm401, Yale School of Management.
  15. Casey B. Mulligan, 2010. "Foreclosures, Enforcement, and Collections under the Federal Mortgage Modification Guidelines," NBER Working Papers 15777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  17. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 701-752.
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