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A macroeconomic model for the evaluation of labor market reforms

  • Krebs, Tom
  • Scheffel, Martin

We develop a tractable macroeconomic model with employment risk and labor market search in order evaluate the effects of labor market reform on unemployment, growth, and welfare. The model has a large number of risk-averse households who can invest in risk-free physical capital and risky human capital. Unemployed households receive unemployment benefits and decide how much search effort to exert. We present a theoretical characterization result that facilitates the computation of equilibria substantially. We calibrate the model to German data and use the calibrated model economy to simulate the macroeconomic effects of the German labor market reforms of 2005 and 2006 (Hartz Reforms). We find that the 2005-reform had large employment effects: the equilibrium unemployment rate has been reduced by approximately 1.1 percentage points from 7.5 to 6.4 percent. Moreover, the drop in unemployment has led to substantial output gains. Finally, employed and short-term unemployed households experienced significant welfare gains, whereas the long-term unemployed have lost in welfare terms. The effects of the 2006-reform are qualitatively similar, but quantitatively much smaller. We also show that the social welfare maximizing replacement rate is lower than the current (post-reform) replacement rate in Germany. However, implementing the optimal unemployment benefit system generates only small welfare gains.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 10-050.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:10050
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  1. James Costain & Michael Reiter, 2004. "Stabilization versus insurance: welfare effects of procyclical taxation under incomplete markets," Working Papers 234, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Ayşegül Şahin, 2010. "Labour-Market Matching with Precautionary Savings and Aggregate Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1477-1507.
  3. Andrey Launov & Klaus Wälde, 2010. "Estimating Incentive and Welfare Effects of Non-stationary Unemployment Benefits," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 328, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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  8. Andolfatto, David, 1996. "Business Cycles and Labor-Market Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 112-32, March.
  9. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Human Capital Risk and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 709-744.
  10. Ronald Bachmann, 2005. "Labour Market Dynamics in Germany: Hirings, Separations, and Job-to-Job Transitions over the Business Cycle," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-045, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  11. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo Manuelli, 1990. "A Convex Model of Equilibrium Growth," NBER Working Papers 3241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Tom Krebs, 2006. "Recursive equilibrium in endogenous growth models with incomplete markets," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 505-523, November.
  13. Christoph Boehringer & Stefan Boeters & Michael Feil, 2004. "Taxation and Unemployment: An Applied General Equilibrium Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1272, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2001. "Income variance dynamics and heterogenity," IFS Working Papers W01/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-38, April.
  16. Herwig Immervoll & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "Welfare reform in European countries: a microsimulation analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 1-44, 01.
  17. Makoto Nakajima, 2010. "Business cycles in the equilibrium model of labor market search and self-insurance," Working Papers 10-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  18. Caliendo, Marco & Tatsiramos, Konstantinos & Uhlendorff, Arne, 2009. "Benefit Duration, Unemployment Duration and Job Match Quality: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 4670, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
  20. Robert Shimer & Ivan Werning, 2006. "Reservation Wages and Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 12618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  22. Addison, John T. & Centeno, Mario & Portugal, Pedro, 2008. "Unemployment Benefits and Reservation Wages: Key Elasticities from a Stripped-Down Job Search Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 3357, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-83, December.
  24. Franz, Wolfgang & Guertzgen, Nicole & Schubert, Stefanie & Clauss, Markus, 2007. "Reformen im Niedriglohnsektor: Eine integrierte CGE-Mikrosimulationsstudie der Arbeitsangebots- und Beschäftigungseffekte," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-085, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  25. Rasmus Lentz, 2009. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in an Estimated Job Search Model with Savings," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 37-57, January.
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  28. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Cyclical Dynamics in Idiosyncratic Labor Market Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 695-717, June.
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