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Cross-Country Unemployment Insurance, Transfers, and Trade-Offs in International Risk Sharing

Zeno Enders and David A. Vespermann

No 8965, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo

Abstract: We assess to which degree an international transfer mechanism can enhance consumption risk sharing as well as allocative efficiency and apply our results to the implicit transfers generated by a potential European unemployment benefit scheme (EUBS). Specifically, we first develop a simple model with nominal rigidities to build intuition by deriving analytical results. We then use a rich DSGE model, calibrated to the Core and the Periphery of the euro area, to quantitatively analyze the changing dynamics that a EUBS brings about. We find that a EUBS can provide risk sharing by stabilizing relative consumption as well as unemployment differentials. Following supply shocks, however, the cross-country transfer embodied in the unemployment benefits is spent to a large degree on relatively inefficiently produced goods in the receiving countries. This renders the allocation even more inefficient by opening country-specific labor wedges further, also after government-spending shocks. Yet, since this trade-off between allocative efficiency and consumption risk sharing does not exist after certain demand shocks, the welfare effects of a EUBS depend on the cause for international unemployment differentials. A EUBS that is only active after specific shocks would therefore maximize overall welfare. Even without this feature, a EUBS would raise Core’s welfare in the quantitative model, leaving Periphery’s welfare almost unchanged.

Keywords: cross-country transfers; international unemployment insurance; EMU European business cycles; optimum currency area; structural reforms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E32 F44 F45 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dge, nep-eec, nep-ias, nep-mac and nep-opm
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