IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/tin/wpaper/19990051.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Credibility Problem in Unemployment Insurance Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Robert A.J. Dur

    () (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

Abstract

If distortions in the labour market lead to inefficiently highunemployment, and policy makers cannot enter into a binding policy commitment before nominal wages are set, excessive inflation may result due to a credibility problem. This is the famous Kydland&Prescott - Barro&Gordon inflationary bias result. This paper shows that a similar credibility problem may exist in public unemployment insurance policy. I study a model inwhich trade unions, who set wages, interact with a policy maker, whodecides on the level of unemployment benefits and taxes. The policy maker is assumed to have the same preferences as the median voter, whose demand for unemployment benefits is driven by both insurance motives and ideological motives. If the policy maker cannot commit to future policies, and wages are relatively rigid, taxes and benefits are excessively high in equilibrium. Moreover, employment and hence output are inefficiently low in thediscretionary equilibrium. Akin to the case of monetary policy, I show that appointing a policy maker who is more conservative than the median voter may solve the credibility problem.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert A.J. Dur, 1999. "The Credibility Problem in Unemployment Insurance Policy," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 99-051/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:19990051
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://papers.tinbergen.nl/99051.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
    2. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
    3. Nickell, Stephen & Layard, Richard, 1999. "Labor market institutions and economic performance," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 3029-3084 Elsevier.
    4. Lawrence Summers & Jonathan Gruber & Rodrigo Vergara, 1993. "Taxation and the Structure of Labor Markets: The Case of Corporatism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 385-411.
    5. Dixit, Avinash & Londregan, John, 1995. "Redistributive Politics and Economic Efficiency," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 89(04), pages 856-866, December.
    6. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
    7. Hassler, J & Rodriguez Mora, J-V, 1997. "Employment Turnover and Unemployment Insurance," Papers 623, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
    8. Burda, Michael C., 1997. "Corporatism, labor unions and the safety net," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 635-646, April.
    9. James M. Malcomson, 1997. "Contracts, Hold-Up, and Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1916-1957, December.
    10. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Stanley Fischer, 1989. "Lectures on Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262022834, October.
    11. Wright, Randall, 1986. "The redistributive roles of unemployment insurance and the dynamics of voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 377-399, December.
    12. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment insurance policy; credibility problem; trade unions;

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:19990051. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Tinbergen Office +31 (0)10-4088900). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/tinbenl.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.