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Wage-Rate Subsidies for Dislocated Workers

  • Carl Davidson

    (Michigan State University)

  • Stephen A. Woodbury


    (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)

An array of innovative policies has been suggested to address more effectively the needs of dislocated workers. In this paper, we model and simulate the impacts of a wage-rate subsidy (or salary supplement) program in which a dislocated worker who becomes reemployed would receive a payment equal to one-half the difference between the wage previously earned and the wage currently earned. The simulations are based on a search model that is institutionally rich and that provides estimates of the impacts of a wage subsidy by incorporating empirical results from the reemployment bonus experiments that were conducted in the mid- to late-1980s. The model includes several groups of workers other than dislocated workers and therefore provides estimates of the degree to which these other workers might be crowded out of jobs by the wage subsidy program. The results suggest that a wage-rate subsidy paid for two years after reemployment would shorten the unemployment spells of dislocated workers by nearly 2 weeks, and would increase employment of dislocated workers by about 900 to 1000 per 100,000 in the labor force. But the simulations also raise the possibility that the gains for dislocated workers could come at the expense of other groups of workers; that is, other groups of workers could experience small increases in unemployment duration, and decreases in employment levels that almost fully offset the gains for dislocated workers. Three factors may mitigate these crowding-out results crowding out is widely dispersed over various groups of non-dislocated workers, the structural changes that result in dislocation of some workers (and drive the need for a policy like a wage subsidy) benefit non-dislocated workers, and the crowding-out results are quite sensitive to one of our assumptions. We also compare the wage-rate subsidy program with a reemployment bonus, and show that the two can be structured so as to give identical results.

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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 95-31.

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Date of creation: Jan 1995
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:95-31
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  1. Rebecca M. Blank & David E. Card, 1991. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1157-1189.
  2. Paul T. Decker & Christopher J. O'Leary, 1991. "An Analysis of Pooled Evidence from the Pennsylvania and Washington Reemployment Bonus Demonstrations," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 458eec364eac40c390e6d78c9, Mathematica Policy Research.
  3. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1987. "What Do We Know About Worker Displacement in the U.S.?," NBER Working Papers 2402, 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. Phillip B. Levine, 1993. "Spillover effects between the insured and uninsured unemployed," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(1), pages 73-86, October.
  6. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-79, December.
  7. Hurd, Michael D. & Pencavel, John H., 1981. "A utility-based analysis of the wage subsidy program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 185-201, April.
  8. Peter A. Diamond, 1982. "Wage Determination and Efficiency in Search Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 217-227.
  9. Stephen A. Woodbury, 2009. "Unemployment," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt & Seth D. Harris & Orley Lobel (ed.), Labor and Employment Law and Economics, volume 2, pages 480-516 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    • Stephen A. Woodbury, 2009. "Unemployment," Chapters, in: Labor and Employment Law and Economics, chapter 17 Edward Elgar.
  10. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1982. "Unemployment Insurance and Labor Force Transitions," NBER Working Papers 0920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1993. "Long-term earnings losses of high-seniority displaced workers," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 2-20.
  12. Abraham, Katharine G, 1983. "Structural-Frictional vs. Deficient Demand Unemployment: Some New Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 708-24, September.
  13. repec:mpr:mprres:1134 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Carl Davidson & Stephen A. Woodbury, . "The Displacement Effect of Reemployment Bonus Programs," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles cdsaw1993, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  15. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Takeup Rates," NBER Working Papers 4787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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..
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