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An Adverse Selection Model of Optimal Unemployment Insurance

  • Marcus Hagedorn
  • Ashok Kaul

We derive the shape of optimal unemployment insurance (UI) contracts when agents can exert search effort but face different search costs and have private information about their type. We derive a recursive solution of our dynamic adverse selection problem with repeated moral hazard. Conditions under which the UI agency should always offer separating contracts are identified. We show that the good searcher receives an information rent and that the bad searcher receives the minimal entitlement. From a methodological point of view, we achieve a precise characterization of the sets of jointly feasible entitlements. This allows us to map our analytical results one-to-one to a numerical algorithm. According to our results the contract for the good searcher has a decreasing benefit profile, as the one he would be offered in a pure moral hazard environment. In contrast, the contract of the bad searcher is distorted by an adverse selection effect, so that it tends to have an upward-sloping benefit profile. We provide a comparative static analysis of changes in various parameters of our model.

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Paper provided by Society for Computational Economics in its series Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 with number 154.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf4:154
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  1. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 2003. "Improving incentives in unemployment insurance: A review of recent research," Working Paper Series 2003:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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  8. Jullien, Bruno, 1997. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," IDEI Working Papers 67, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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  12. 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.
  13. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
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  18. Dale T. Mortensen, 1983. "A Welfare Analysis of Unemployment Insurance: Variations on Second Best Themes," Discussion Papers 549, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  19. Hassler, John & Rodriguez Mora, José V., 2002. "Should UI Benefits Really Fall Over Time?," IZA Discussion Papers 622, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  22. Shavell, Steven & Weiss, Laurence, 1979. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1347-62, December.
  23. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1990. "Income fluctuation and asymmetric information: An example of a repeated principal-agent problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 367-390, August.
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