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Unemployment Insurance Eligibility, Moral Hazard and Equilibrium Unemployment

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  • Min Zhang

Abstract

This paper shows that the Mortensen-Pissarides search and matching model can be successfully parameterized to generate observed large cyclical fluctuations in unemployment and modest responses of unemployment to changes in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. The key features behind this success are the consideration of the eligibility for UI benefits and the heterogeneity of workers. With the linear utilities commonly assumed in the Mortensen-Pissarides model, a fully rated UI system designed to prevent moral hazard has no effect on unemployment. However, the UI system in the United States is neither fully rated nor able to prevent workers with low productivity from quitting their jobs or rejecting employment offers to collect benefits. As a result, an increase in UI generosity has a positive, but realistically small, effect on unemployment. This paper answers the Costain and Reiter (2008) criticism to the Hagedorn and Manovskii (2008) strategy of adopting a high value of non-market activities to generate realistic business cycles with the Mortensen-Pissarides model.

Suggested Citation

  • Min Zhang, 2010. "Unemployment Insurance Eligibility, Moral Hazard and Equilibrium Unemployment," Working Papers tecipa-405, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-405
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    File URL: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/tecipa-405.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Search; Matching; Moral Hazard; UI Entitlement; Equilibrium Unemployment; Labor Markets;

    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
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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