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Unemployment benefits as a search subsidy: New evidence on duration and wage effects of unemployment insurance

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  • Gangl, Markus

Abstract

Job search models offer two complementary predictions about the effects of unemployment benefits on job search outcomes among unemployed workers. By raising workers' reservation wages, unemployment benefits should contribute to both prolonged spell duration and improved post-unemployment job quality. In contrast to many previous empirical studies that have addressed the negative benefit effect on duration only, the current paper jointly addresses the causal effect of unemployment benefits on both unemployment duration and post-unemployment wages. Based on panel data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the German Socio-Economic Panel for the 1980s and 1990s, the paper establishes empirical support for both benefit effects in both countries. If anything, there is evidence of a slightly more negative duration effect for the U.S. data, while positive UI effects on post-unemployment wages are stronger in the German data. In any event, the empirical estimates for the positive effects of unemployment benefits on wages substantially exceed those obtained in Addison and Blackburn's recent paper based on Displaced Worker Survey data. In contrast to their findings, the data also provide ample evidence of stronger UI effects in the lower tails of the wage change distribution. At the cost of a fairly small prolongation of unemployment duration, unemployment benefits thus substantially reduce the scar effects of unemployment on workers' future job records.

Suggested Citation

  • Gangl, Markus, 2002. "Unemployment benefits as a search subsidy: New evidence on duration and wage effects of unemployment insurance," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment FS I 02-208, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzblpe:fsi02208
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan N. Houseman, 1993. "Job Security in America: Lessons from Germany," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number kagsnh1993.
    2. Blau, David M. & Robins, Philip K., 1986. "Job search, wage offers, and unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 173-197, March.
    3. Mavromaras, Kostas G & Rudolph, Helmut, 1998. "Temporary Separations and Firm Size in the German Labour Market," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(2), pages 215-225, May.
    4. Belzil, Christian, 2000. "Unemployment Insurance and Subsequent Job Duration: Job Matching vs Unobserved Heterogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 116, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Addison, John T. & Blackburn, McKinley L., 2000. "The effects of unemployment insurance on postunemployment earnings," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 21-53, January.
    6. Gregory, Mary & Jukes, Robert, 2001. "Unemployment and Subsequent Earnings: Estimating Scarring among British Men 1984-94," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(475), pages 607-625, November.
    7. Schömann, Klaus & Flechtner, Stefanie & Mytzek, Ralf & Schömann, Isabelle, 2000. "Moving towards employment insurance: Unemployment insurance and employment protection in the OECD," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment FS I 00-201, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    8. Steiner, Viktor, 1997. "Extended benefit entitlement periods and the duration of unemployment in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-14, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    9. Narendranathan, W & Nickell, S & Stern, J, 1985. "Unemployment Benefits Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(378), pages 307-329, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Breiding, Torsten, 2006. "Die Arbeitslosenversicherung in Deutschland – Beitrag zur Bekämpfung oder Ursache von Arbeitslosigkeit
      [The unemployment insurance in Germany - does it cause or does it help to overcome unemploymen
      ," MPRA Paper 20999, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Nagler, Paula, 2015. "The impact of unemployment insurance savings accounts on subsequent employment quality," MERIT Working Papers 026, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Gustavo Yamada, 2008. "Reinserción laboral adecuada : dificultades e implicancias de política," Working Papers 08-01, Centro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacífico.
    4. Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2005. "Lessons learned: Internationale Evaluierungsergebnisse zu Wirkungen aktiver und aktivierender Arbeitsmarktpolitik," IAB-Forschungsbericht 200509, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    5. Kemmerling, Achim & Bruttel, Oliver, 2005. "New politics in German labour market policy? The implications of the recent Hartz reforms for the German welfare state," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment SP I 2005-101, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    6. Bernd Fitzenberger & Ralf A. Wilke, 2010. "Unemployment Durations in West Germany Before and After the Reform of the Unemployment Compensation System during the 1980s," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 336-366, August.
    7. repec:iab:iabzaf:v:38:i:2/3:p:383-395 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Meyer, Wolfgang & Gerlach, Knut, 2005. "Zusammenlegung von Arbeitslosen- und Sozialhilfe: Wirkungen auf Löhne, Beschäftigung und gewerkschaftliche Tarifpolitik (The merging of uneployment assistance and social aissistance * effects on wages," Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 38(2/3), pages 383-395.
    9. Eichhorst, Werner & Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2005. "The interaction of labor market regulation and labor market policies in welfare state reform," IAB Discussion Paper 200519, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    10. Schmelzer, Paul, 2011. "Unemployment and occupational mobility at the beginning of employment career in Germany and the UK," IAB Discussion Paper 201125, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    11. Gonzalez-Rozada, Martin & Ruffo, Hernán, 2016. "Optimal unemployment benefits in the presence of informal labor markets," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 204-227.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment insurance; unemployment duration; wage change; displaced workers; search theory;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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