Discussion paper

DP16125 Assessing the Stabilizing Effects of Unemployment Benefit Extensions

We study the stabilizing role of benefit extensions. We develop a tractable quantitative model with heterogeneous agents, search frictions, and nominal rigidities. The model allows for a stabilizing aggregate demand channel and a destabilizing labor market channel. We characterize each channel analytically and find that aggregate demand effects quantitatively prevail in the US. When feeding-in estimated shocks, the model tracks unemployment in the two most recent downturns. We find that extensions lowered unemployment by a maximum of 0.35 pp in the Great Recession, while the joint stabilizing effect of extensions and benefit compensation peaked at 1.08 pp in the pandemic.


Trigari, A and A Gorn (2021), ‘DP16125 Assessing the Stabilizing Effects of Unemployment Benefit Extensions‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 16125. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp16125