DP3810 Efficient Unemployment Insurance Time Path

Author(s): Tomer Blumkin, Yossi Hadar, Eran Yashiv
Publication Date: March 2003
Keyword(s): benefit duration, matching, search, technology dispersion, UI
JEL(s): E24, J64, J65
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics, Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=3810

The Paper examines the time sequencing of UI benefits in a general equilibrium framework, with random matching and endogenously determined wages. A key feature of the model is that policymakers exploit random matching to produce some assortative matching through UI policy. The Paper considers a mechanism whereby a declining UI time profile makes unemployed workers relatively choosier at the beginning of their unemployment spell. Hence they tend to continue to search unless a sufficiently attractive offer is received. Later on, the reservation wage drops and agents are willing to take less attractive job offers. Firms respond by introducing endogenous market segmentation. In equilibrium more productive firms offer higher wages facing lower vacancy risk, whereas less productive firms offer lower wages and face higher vacancy risk. The role of a declining profile UI regime is to insure enough heterogeneity among workers, so as to obtain enhanced matching with heterogenous firms. The longer the duration, the higher the degree of induced heterogeneity. Such optimal UI policy is shown to crucially depend on the nature of technological dispersion.