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Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring

  • Ofer Setty

    (Tel Aviv University)

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    I study a principal-agent problem in which the principal can obtain additional costly information about the agent's effort. I analyze this problem in the context of optimal unemployment insurance a la Hopenhayn and Nicolini (1997), where job-search effort is private information. I calibrate the model to the US economy and use it for two purposes. First, I show that for CRRA utility, the optimal contract dictates that monitoring frequency increases and the sanction decreases with promised utility, if and only if the coefficient of risk aversion is greater than 0.5. Second, I show that compared to optimal unemployment insurance and estimated at the balanced budget point, monitoring saves about eighty percent of the cost associated with moral hazard.

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    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 26.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:26
    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
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    1. van den Berg, Gerard J, 1994. "The Effects of Changes of the Job Offer Arrival Rate on the Duration of Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 478-98, July.
    2. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Aysegul Sahin, 2002. "Unemployment Insurance and the Role of Self-Insurance," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(3), pages 681-703, July.
    3. Boone, J. & Fredriksson, P. & Holmlund, B. & van Ours, J.C., 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring and Sanctions," Discussion Paper 2001-85, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. van den Berg, Gerard J & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2001. "Counselling and Monitoring of Unemployed Workers: Theory and Evidence from a Controlled Social Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2986, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. Berg & Jan C. Ours, 2005. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance Sanctions on the Transition Rate from Unemployment to Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 602-630, 07.
    6. Gerard J. van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw & Jan C. van Ours, 2004. "Punitive Sanctions and the Transition Rate from Welfare to Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 211-241, January.
    7. 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.
    8. Denis Fougère & Jacqueline Pradel & Muriel Roger, 2005. "Does Job-Search Assistance Affect Search Effort and Outcomes ? A Microeconometric Analysis of Public Versus Private Search Methods," Working Papers 2005-33, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
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