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A positive theory of geographic mobility and social insurance

Author

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  • John Hassler
  • José V. Rodríguez Mora
  • Kjetil Storesletten
  • Fabrizio Zilibotti

Abstract

This paper presents a tractable dynamic general equilibrium model that can explain cross-country empirical regularities in geographical mobility, unemployment and labor market institutions. Rational agents vote over unemployment insurance (UI), taking the dynamic distortionary effects of insurance on the performance of the labor market into consideration. Agents with higher cost of moving, i.e., more attached to their current location, prefer more generous UI. The key assumption is that an agent's attachment to a location increases the longer she has resided there. UI reduces the incentive for labor mobility and increases, therefore, the fraction of attached agents and the political support for UI. The main result is that this self-reinforcing mechanism can give rise to multiple steady-states-one 'European' steady-state featuring high unemployment, low geographical mobility and high unemployment insurance, and one 'American' steady-state featuring low unemployment, high mobility and low unemployment insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • John Hassler & José V. Rodríguez Mora & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2001. "A positive theory of geographic mobility and social insurance," Economics Working Papers 604, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:604
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Employment; migration; geographical mobility; political equilibrium; unemployment insurance; voting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • 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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