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Strengthening Enforcement in Unemployment Insurance. A Natural Experiment


  • Schiprowski, Amelie
  • Arni, Patrick


Imposing benefit cuts to job seekers who do not comply with rules and requirements has become a commonly used enforcement device in unemployment insurance (UI) systems. This paper provides first estimates of how non-compliant job seekers react when confronted with a stricter enforcement regime. We exploit an administrative reform which induced a sharp and unanticipated increase in the probability of receiving a benefit cut in response to the failure of documenting job search effort. Our difference-in-difference framework uses as a control group job seekers with other types of non-compliances, whose enforcement rules stayed constant. We find that the probability of job finding within the three months following non-compliance detection increases by 5 p.p. in reaction to the reform. This effect is however purely driven by exits to unstable jobs. Increased enforcement strictness thus appears to pressure job seekers into accepting job matches of lower quality. Estimating the effects on post-unemployment earnings is work in progress.

Suggested Citation

  • Schiprowski, Amelie & Arni, Patrick, 2016. "Strengthening Enforcement in Unemployment Insurance. A Natural Experiment," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145723, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc16:145723

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gerard J. van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw, 2006. "Counseling And Monitoring Of Unemployed Workers: Theory And Evidence From A Controlled Social Experiment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(3), pages 895-936, August.
    2. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. Berg & Jan C. Ours, 2005. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance Sanctions on the Transition Rate from Unemployment to Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 602-630, July.
    3. Patrick Arni & Rafael Lalive & Jan C. Van Ours, 2013. "How Effective Are Unemployment Benefit Sanctions? Looking Beyond Unemployment Exit," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 1153-1178, November.
    4. David Card & Jochen Kluve & Andrea Weber, 2010. "Active Labour Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 452-477, November.
    5. Marco Caliendo & Konstantinos Tatsiramos & Arne Uhlendorff, 2013. "Benefit Duration, Unemployment Duration And Job Match Quality: A Regression‐Discontinuity Approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(4), pages 604-627, June.
    6. Ashenfelter, Orley & Ashmore, David & Deschenes, Olivier, 2005. "Do unemployment insurance recipients actively seek work? Evidence from randomized trials in four U.S. States," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 53-75.
    7. Bas Van der Klaauw & Jan C. Van Ours, 2013. "Carrot And Stick: How Re‐Employment Bonuses And Benefit Sanctions Affect Exit Rates From Welfare," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(2), pages 275-296, March.
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    10. 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.
    11. Petrongolo, Barbara, 2009. "The long-term effects of job search requirements: Evidence from the UK JSA reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1234-1253, December.
    12. Bruce D. Meyer, 1995. "Lessons from the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 91-131, March.
    13. Daniel H. Klepinger & Terry R. Johnson & Jutta M. Joesch, 2002. "Effects of Unemployment Insurance Work-Search Requirements: The Maryland Experiment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(1), pages 3-22, October.
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    JEL classification:

    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy

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