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The determination of unemployment benefits

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  • DiTella, Rafael
  • MacCulloch, Robert

Abstract

While much empirical research has been done on the labour market consequences of unemployment benefits, there is remarkably little evidence on the forces determining benefits. The paper presents a simple model where workers desire insurance against the possibility of unemployment and unemployment benefits increase the unemployment rate. We then conduct, what we believe, is one of the first empirical analyses of the determinants of the parameters of the unemployment benefit system. Using OECD data for 1971-1989, controlling for year and country fixed effects, and controlling for the political colour of the government, we find evidence suggesting that benefits fall when the unemployment rate is high. This is consistent with the tax-effect described in Wright (1986) and Atkinson (1990). There is weaker evidence that benefits increase with positive changes in the unemployment rate, which may be proxying for the inflow rate and could be called an insurance effect.

Suggested Citation

  • DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2001. "The determination of unemployment benefits," ZEI Working Papers B 04-2001, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zeiwps:b042001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Holmlund, Bertil, 1998. " Unemployment Insurance in Theory and Practice," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(1), pages 113-141, March.
    2. Laszlo Goerke & Markus Pannenberg & Heinrich Ursprung, 2010. "A positive theory of the earnings relationship of unemployment benefits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 137-163, October.
    3. Olivier Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "What We Know and Do Not Know about the Natural Rate of Unemployment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 51-72, Winter.
    4. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2014. "Culture, Beliefs and Economic Performance," Working Papers 14_06, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    5. MacCulloch, Robert, 1999. "What makes a revolution?," ZEI Working Papers B 24-1999, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
    6. Niklas Potrafke, 2010. "Labor market deregulation and globalization: empirical evidence from OECD countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 146(3), pages 545-571, September.
    7. David R. Howell & Miriam Rehm, 2009. "Unemployment compensation and high European unemployment: a reassessment with new benefit indicators," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 60-93, Spring.
    8. Huang, Emma Li-Hsuan & Huang, Julia Hsin-Yi, 2013. "Labor Market Reforms on the Unemployment Rate and Wage Payments in Europe," MPRA Paper 63248, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Howell David R. & Baker Dean & Glyn Andrew & Schmitt John, 2007. "Are Protective Labor Market Institutions at the Root of Unemployment? A Critical Review of the Evidence," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-73, May.
    10. Oswald Andrew J., 1996. "A Conjecture on the Explanation for High Unemployment in the Industrialized Nations : Part I," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 475, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    11. John Hassler & José V. Rodríguez Mora & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1998. "Equilibrium unemployment insurance," Economics Working Papers 605, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 1999.
    12. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2008. "Gross national happiness as an answer to the Easterlin Paradox?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 22-42, April.
    13. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2005. "The consequences of labor market flexibility: Panel evidence based on survey data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1225-1259, July.
    14. Robert MacCulloch, 2001. "Does Social Insurance Help Secure Property Rights?," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 31, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    15. Andreas Kuhn, 2009. "In the Eye of the Beholder: Subjective Inequality Measures and the Demand for Redistribution," NRN working papers 2009-14, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    16. Tetsuya Matsubayashi & Michiko Ueda, 2012. "Government Partisanship and Human Well-Being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 107(1), pages 127-148, May.
    17. Kuhn, Andreas, 2009. "In the Eye of the Beholder: Subjective Inequality Measures and the Demand for Redistribution," IZA Discussion Papers 4360, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2006. "Europe vs America: Institutional hysteresis in a simple normative model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(12), pages 2161-2186, December.
    19. Douglas, R & MacCulloch, Robert, 2016. "Welfare: Savings not Taxation," Working Papers 31890, Department of Economics, The University of Auckland.
    20. Fredriksson, Peter, 1999. "The political economy of public employment programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 487-504, June.
    21. Andreas Kuhn, 2009. "In the eye of the beholder: subjective inequality measures and the demand for redistribution," IEW - Working Papers 425, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    22. Matsubayashi, Tetsuya & Ueda, Michiko, 2011. "The effect of national suicide prevention programs on suicide rates in 21 OECD nations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(9), pages 1395-1400.
    23. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
    24. Neugart, Michael, 2005. "Unemployment insurance: The role of electoral systems and regional labour markets," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 815-829, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    endogenous unemployment benefits; unemployment; politics;

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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