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Unemployment Insurance Eligibility, Moral Hazard and Equilibrium Unemployment

Min Zhang ()

Working Papers from University of Toronto, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper shows that the Mortensen-Pissarides search and matching model can be successfully parameterized to generate observed large cyclical fluctuations in unemployment and modest responses of unemployment to changes in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. The key features behind this success are the consideration of the eligibility for UI benefits and the heterogeneity of workers. With the linear utilities commonly assumed in the Mortensen-Pissarides model, a fully rated UI system designed to prevent moral hazard has no effect on unemployment. However, the UI system in the United States is neither fully rated nor able to prevent workers with low productivity from quitting their jobs or rejecting employment offers to collect benefits. As a result, an increase in UI generosity has a positive, but realistically small, effect on unemployment. This paper answers the Costain and Reiter (2008) criticism to the Hagedorn and Manovskii (2008) strategy of adopting a high value of non-market activities to generate realistic business cycles with the Mortensen-Pissarides model.

Keywords: Search; Matching; Moral Hazard; UI Entitlement; Equilibrium Unemployment; Labor Markets (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E24 E32 J64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 27 pages
Date: 2010-06-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cta, nep-dge, nep-ias, nep-lab and nep-mac
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