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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
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Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:95-31
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  1. Blank, Rebecca M & Card, David E, 1991. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1157-89, November.
  2. Stephen A. Woodbury, 2009. "Unemployment," Chapters, in: Labor and Employment Law and Economics, chapter 17 Edward Elgar.
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  4. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Wage Determination and Efficiency in Search Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 217-27, April.
  5. repec:mpr:mprres:1134 is not listed on IDEAS
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  7. 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..
  8. 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.
  9. Davidson, Carl & Woodbury, Stephen A, 1993. "The Displacement Effect of Reemployment Bonus Programs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(4), pages 575-605, October.
  10. 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.
  11. Phillip B. Levine, 1993. "Spillover Effects between the Insured and Uninsured Unemployed," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(1), pages 73-86, October.
  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. 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.
  14. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Takeup Rates," NBER Working Papers 4787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1982. "Unemployment Insurance and Labor Force Transitions," NBER Working Papers 0920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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