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The Limited Macroeconomic Effects of Unemployment Benefit Extensions

Author

Listed:
  • Loukas Karabarbounis

    (University of Minnesota)

  • Gabriel Chodorow-Reich

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

By how much does an extension of unemployment benefits affect macroeconomic outcomes such as unemployment? Answering this question is challenging because U.S. law extends benefits for states experiencing high unemployment. We use data revisions to decompose the variation in the duration of benefits into the part coming from actual differences in economic conditions and the part coming from measurement error in the real-time data used to determine benefit extensions. Using only the variation coming from measurement error, we find that benefit extensions have a limited influence on state-level macroeconomic outcomes. We use our estimates to quantify the effects of the increase in the duration of benefits during the Great Recession and find that they increased the unemployment rate by at most 0.3 percentage point.

Suggested Citation

  • Loukas Karabarbounis & Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, 2017. "The Limited Macroeconomic Effects of Unemployment Benefit Extensions," 2017 Meeting Papers 834, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed017:834
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2008. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1692-1706, September.
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    3. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2016. "The Cyclicality of the Opportunity Cost of Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(6), pages 1563-1618.
    4. Steven Dieterle & Otavio Bartalotti & Quentin Brummet, 2016. "Revisiting the Effects of Unemployment Insurance Extensions on Unemployment: A Measurement Error-Corrected Regression Discontinuity Approach," ESE Discussion Papers 268, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    5. 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.
    6. repec:aea:aejpol:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:152-81 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Hansen, Gary D & Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 118-142, February.
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    9. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Ayşegül Şahin, 2010. "Labour-Market Matching with Precautionary Savings and Aggregate Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1477-1507.
    10. Hall, Robert & Mueller, Andreas I., 2015. "Wage Dispersion and Search Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 9527, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Costain, James S. & Reiter, Michael, 2008. "Business cycles, unemployment insurance, and the calibration of matching models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1120-1155, April.
    12. Boone, Christopher & Dube, Arindrajit & Goodman, Lucas & Kaplan, Ethan, 2016. "Unemployment Insurance Generosity and Aggregate Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 10439, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Benjamin Hartung & Philip Jung & Moritz Kuhn, 2018. "What Hides Behind the German Labor Market Miracle? Unemployment Insurance Reforms and Labor Market Dynamics," CESifo Working Paper Series 7379, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Serdar Birinci & Kurt Gerrard See, 2018. "How Should Unemployment Insurance vary over the Business Cycle?," 2018 Meeting Papers 69, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Dupor, William D. & Rodrigo , Guerrero, 2017. "The Aggregate and Relative Economic Effects of Medicaid and Medicare Expansions," Working Papers 2017-27, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    5. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii & Kurt Mitman, 2016. "Interpreting Recent Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Unemployment Benefit Extensions," NBER Working Papers 22280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Léo Aparisi de Lannoy & Xavier Ragot, 2017. "Une (ré) assurance chômage européenne," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/69i5rbio799, Sciences Po.
    7. Steven Dieterle & Otávio Bartalotti & Quentin Brummet, 2016. "Revisiting the Effects of Unemployment Insurance Extensions on Unemployment: A Measurement Error-Corrected Regression Discontinuity Approach," CARRA Working Papers 2016-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    8. Hartung, Benjamin & Jung, Philip & Kuhn, Moritz, 2018. "What Hides behind the German Labor Market Miracle? Unemployment Insurance Reforms and Labor Market Dynamics," IZA Discussion Papers 12001, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Dieterle, Steven & Bartalotti, Otávio C. & Brummet, Quentin O., 2016. "Revisiting the Effects of Unemployment Insurance Extensions on Unemployment: A Measurement Error-Corrected RD Approach," Staff General Research Papers Archive 3392, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    10. Hartung, Benjamin & Jung, Philip & Kuhn, Moritz, 2018. "What hides behind the German labor market miracle? Unemployment insurance reforms and labor market dynamics," CEPR Discussion Papers 13328, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2017. "Identification in Macroeconomics," NBER Working Papers 23968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. repec:eee:labeco:v:54:y:2018:i:c:p:116-134 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Serena Rhee & Soojin Kim, 2016. "Measuring the Effects of Employment Protection Policies for the Disabled: Theory and Evidence from the Americans with Disabilities Act," Working Papers 201621, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    14. Stephanie Johnson & John Mondragon & Anthony DeFusco, 2017. "Regulating Household Leverage," 2017 Meeting Papers 327, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • 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

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