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An Adverse Selection Model of Optimal Unemployment Insurance

  • Marcus Hagedorn
  • Ashok Kaul
  • Tim Mennel

We ask whether offering a menu of unemployment insurance contracts is welfare-improving in a heterogeneous population. We adopt a repeated moral hazard framework as in Shavell/Weiss (1979), supplemented by unobserved heterogeneity about agents’ job opportunities. Our main theoretical contribution is an analytical characterization of the sets of jointly feasible entitlements that renders an efficient computation of these sets feasible. Our main economic result is that optimal contracts for “bad” searchers tend to be upward-sloping due to an adverse selection effect. This is in contrast to the well-known optimal decreasing time profile of benefits in pure moral hazard environments that continue to be optimal for “good” searchers in our model.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 315.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:315
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  6. Jullien, Bruno, 2000. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-47, July.
  7. Hagedorn, Marcus & Kaul, Ashok & Mennel, Tim, 2002. "An adverse selection model of optimal unemployment insurance," ZEI Working Papers B 30-2002, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  8. Mortensen, Dale T., 1983. "A welfare analysis of unemployment insurance: Variations on second-best themes," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 67-97, January.
  9. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
  10. Matthias Doepke & Robert M. Townsend, 2002. "Dynamic Mechanism Design With Hidden Income and Hidden Actions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 818, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  13. Wang, Cheng & Williamson, Stephen D., 2002. "Moral Hazard, Optimal Unemployment Insurance and Experience Rating," Staff General Research Papers 10133, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  14. 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.
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  16. Hassler, John & Rodriguez Mora, José V., 2002. "Should UI Benefits Really Fall Over Time?," IZA Discussion Papers 622, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Pavoni, Nicola, 2007. "On optimal unemployment compensation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1612-1630, September.
  18. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
  19. Rasmus Lentz, 2003. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in an Estimated Job Search Model with Savings," CAM Working Papers 2004-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  20. Kenneth L. Judd & Sevin Yeltekin & James Conklin, 2003. "Computing Supergame Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1239-1254, 07.
  21. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  22. Fernandes, Ana & Phelan, Christopher, 2000. "A Recursive Formulation for Repeated Agency with History Dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 223-247, April.
  23. Gilles Joseph & Thomas Weitzenblum, 2003. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance: Transitional Dynamics vs. Steady State," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 869-884, October.
  24. Chang, Roberto, 1998. "Credible Monetary Policy in an Infinite Horizon Model: Recursive Approaches," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 431-461, August.
  25. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1990. "Toward a Theory of Discounted Repeated Games with Imperfect Monitoring," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1041-63, September.
  26. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1990. "Income fluctuation and asymmetric information: An example of a repeated principal-agent problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 367-390, August.
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