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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
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:1260
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  1. 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.
  2. Haefke, Christian & Sonntag, Marcus & van Rens, Thijs, 2013. "Wage rigidity and job creation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 887-899.
  3. Casey B. Mulligan, 2010. "Foreclosures, Enforcement, and Collections under the Federal Mortgage Modification Guidelines," NBER Working Papers 15777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Casey B. Mulligan, 2008. "A Depressing Scenario: Mortgage Debt Becomes Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 14514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James S. Costain & Michael Reiter, 2003. "Business Cycles, Unemployment Insurance, and the Calibration of Matching Models," CESifo Working Paper Series 1008, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Kyle F. Herkenhoff & Lee Ohanian, 2012. "Foreclosure delay and U.S. unemployment," Working Papers 2012-017, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  7. 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.
  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. 43(2 (Fall)), pages 143-213.
  9. Donald W. K. Andrews, 2005. "Cross-Section Regression with Common Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1551-1585, 09.
  10. 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.
  11. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
  12. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," NBER Working Papers 12893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  14. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  15. 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.
  16. Casey B. Mulligan, 2009. "Means-Tested Mortgage Modification: Homes Saved or Income Destroyed?," NBER Working Papers 15281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
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