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Unemployment Insurance Eligibility, Moral Hazard and Equilibrium Unemployment

  • Min Zhang

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.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-405.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 09 Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-405
Contact details of provider: Postal: 150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
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  1. Lawrence Katz & Bruce Meyer, 1988. "The Impact of the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits on the Duration of Unemployment," Working Papers 621, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. James S. Costain & Michael Reiter, 2003. "Business Cycles, Unemployment Insurance, and the Calibration of Matching Models," CESifo Working Paper Series 1008, CESifo Group Munich.
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  12. Andolfatto, David & Gomme, Paul, 1996. "Unemployment insurance and labor-market activity in Canada," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 47-82, June.
  13. Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment insurance and job search decisions," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
  14. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2007. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," IEW - Working Papers 351, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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  23. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  24. Melvyn Coles & Adrian Masters, 2006. "Re-entitlement Effects with Duration Dependent Unemployment Insurance in a Stochastic Matching Equilibrium," 2006 Meeting Papers 189, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  25. Anderson, Patricia M & Meyer, Bruce D, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance Takeup Rates and the After-Tax Value of Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 913-37, August.
  26. Espen R. Moen & �sa Rosén, 2006. "Equilibrium Incentive Contracts and Efficiency Wages," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(6), pages 1165-1192, December.
  27. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
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