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Unemployment Compensation and Older Workers

  • Christopher J. O'Leary

    ()

    (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)

  • Stephen A. Wandner

    (U.S. Department of Labor)

Unemployment compensation in the United States is provided through a federal-state system of unemployment insurance (UI). UI provides temporary partial wage replacement to active job seekers who are involuntarily out of work. For older workers, UI is an important source of income security and a potential influence on work incentives. For many, the transition from full-time work in a career job to retirement is voluntary and orderly. For others, job displacement greatly disrupts plans. The transition often involves many intermediate steps. The chain of transitions may include full- or part-time work on another job which most often is not in the same industry and occupation (a bridge job). There may also be movement between bridge jobs, perhaps back from a bridge job to a career job, and finally a gradual movement into full retirement while out of the labor force. Many issues at the forefront of current UI policy debate are also issues of prime importance to those in the second half of their working life. Issues occur in all the standard areas of UI policy: coverage, eligibility, benefit adequacy, duration of benefits, work incentives, benefit financing, and interaction with other programs. This paper provides a brief background sketch of the labor market situation of older workers to examine issues of prime concern to older workers in these areas of UI policy. Our survey of policy issues suggests that changes in UI rules concerning, initial eligibility, continuing eligibility, wage replacement, and partial benefits should all be examined to evaluate effects on the likely employment patterns of older workers. Particular attention should be given to UI features affecting the choice of self-employment, part-time work, seasonal work, and agricultural jobs. The financing consequences of possible UI program changes should also be estimated, as should the macroeconomic impact of broadening recipiency. UI program features which would promote flexible and extended labor force participation by older workers should also enrich the employment choice environment for other workers. Therefore, it would be useful to examine the impact of such program changes on UI as a built-in stabilizer of aggregate expenditures. While younger workers are usually committed to long-term participation in the labor force, older citizens are often more flexible in choosing to use their time. Worsening labor shortage conditions in the United States mean that efforts to retain older workers in the labor force will intensify. The current and potential influence of UI on the income security and labor force participation of older workers should be well understood.

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Paper provided by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in its series Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles with number 00-61.

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Date of creation: Jan 2000
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Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:00-61
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  1. Paul T. Decker & Christopher J. O'Leary, . "Evaluating Pooled Evidence from the Reemployment Bonus Experiments," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles ptdcjo1995, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  2. Sewin Chan & Ann Huff Stevens, 1999. "Job Loss and Retirement Behavior of Older Men," Departmental Working Papers 199823, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  3. Martin Feldstein & Daniel Altman, 2007. "Unemployment Insurance Savings Accounts," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 21, pages 35-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 92-11, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  5. Joseph F. Quinn & Richard V. Burkhauser & Daniel A. Myers, 1990. "Passing the Torch: The Influence of Economic Incentives on Work and Retirement," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number pt, June.
  6. Robert Tannenwald & Christopher J. O'Leary & Wei-Jang Huang, . "New Ways of Evaluating State Unemployment Insurance," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles rtcjo1999, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  7. Terry R. Johnson & Daniel H. Klepinger, 1994. "Experimental Evidence on Unemployment Insurance Work-Search Policies," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(3), pages 665-717.
  8. Christopher J. O'Leary & Stephen A. Wandner, 1997. "Summing Up: Achievements, Problems, and Prospects," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Christopher J. O'Leary & Stephen A. Wandner (ed.), Unemployment Insurance in the United States: Analysis of Policy Issues, chapter 15, pages 669-722 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  9. Paul T Decker, 1997. "Work Incentives and Disincentives," Mathematica Policy Research Reports e09c4ee64359405c8a52e13c4, Mathematica Policy Research.
  10. Rebecca Blank & David Card & Whitney Newey, 1988. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," Working Papers 623, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  11. repec:mpr:mprres:1134 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Randall W. Eberts & Christopher J. O'Leary, 1996. "Design of the Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services System and Evaluation in Michigan," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 96-41, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  13. Christopher J. O'Leary, 1996. "The Adequacy of Unemployment Insurance Benefits," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Advisory Council on Unemployment Compensation: Background Papers, volume 3, pages EE1-EE60 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  14. Christopher J. O'Leary, . "Performance Indicators: A Management Assessment Tool for Active Labour Programmes in Hungary and Poland," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles cjo19953, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  15. Joseph F. Quinn, 1998. "New Paths to Retirement," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 406, Boston College Department of Economics.
  16. Stephen A. Woodbury & Murray Rubin, 1997. "The Duration of Benefits," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Christopher J. O'Leary & Stephen A. Wandner (ed.), Unemployment Insurance in the United States: Analysis of Policy Issues, chapter 6, pages 211-283 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  17. Saul J. Blaustein & Christopher J. O'Leary & Stephen A. Wandner, 1997. "Policy Issues: An Overview," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Christopher J. O'Leary & Stephen A. Wandner (ed.), Unemployment Insurance in the United States: Analysis of Policy Issues, chapter 1, pages 1-49 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  18. Christopher J. O'Leary & Murray Rubin, 1997. "Adequacy of the Weekly Benefit Amount," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Christopher J. O'Leary & Stephen A. Wandner (ed.), Unemployment Insurance in the United States: Analysis of Policy Issues, chapter 5, pages 163-210 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  19. Saul J. Blaustein, 1993. "Unemployment Insurance in the United States: The First Half Century," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number uius, June.
  20. Gary Burtless, 1983. "Why Is Insured Unemployment So Low?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 14(1), pages 225-254.
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