How Should Unemployment Insurance Vary over the Business Cycle?
We study optimal unemployment insurance (UI) over the business cycle using a heterogeneous agent job search model with aggregate risk and incomplete markets. We validate the model-implied micro and macro labor market elasticities to changes in UI generosity against existing estimates, and provide an explanation for divergent empirical findings. We show that generating the observed demographic differences between UI recipients and non-recipients is critical in determining the magnitudes of these elasticities. We find that the optimal policy features countercyclical replacement rates with ...
What Do Survey Data Tell Us about US Businesses?
This paper examines the reliability of survey data on business incomes, valuations, and rates of return, which are key inputs for studies of wealth inequality and entrepreneurial choice. We compare survey responses of business owners with available data from administrative tax records, brokered private business sales, and publicly traded company filings and document problems due to nonrepresentative samples and measurement errors across all surveys, subsamples, and years. We find that the discrepancies are economically relevant for the statistics of interest. We investigate reasons for these ...
Spousal Labor Supply Response to Job Displacement and Implications for Optimal Transfers
I document a small spousal earnings response to the job displacement of the family head. The response is even smaller in recessions, when earnings losses are larger and additional insurance is most valuable. I investigate whether the small response is an outcome of the crowding-out effects of government transfers. To accomplish this, I use an incomplete markets model with family labor supply and aggregate fluctuations where predicted spousal labor supply elasticities with respect to transfers are in line with microeconomic estimates both in aggregate and across subpopulations. Counterfactual ...
Data Appendix: What Do Survey Data Tell Us about U.S. Businesses?
In this appendix, we provide details on the data sources and construction of variables for our analysis in "What Do Survey Data Tell Us about U.S. Businesses?" We also include the auxiliary tables and figures omitted from the main text.
The Effects of COVID-19 on Unemployment Insurance Claims
The increase in unemployment insurance claims appears to be higher for states with relatively more employees in the service sector.
How Should the Government Spend the Fiscal Budget during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
A mix of expanded unemployment insurance benefits and payroll subsidies to employers may be more effective in speeding up the recovery than implementing just one of those policies.
Which Earnings Groups Have Been Most Affected by the COVID-19 Crisis?
When the pandemic caused unemployment to skyrocket, the lowest earners were the hardest hit.
Which Workers Have Been Most Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Occupations that earn less than $34,963 on average—such as cashiers, servers and janitors—accounted for 34% of the increase in unemployment from January to April.
Unintended Consequences of Coronavirus-Related Unemployment Insurance Tax Laws
Waived employer payroll tax increases for state unemployment insurance appear to have increased layoffs.
Labor Market Policies During an Epidemic
We study the positive and normative implications of labor market policies that counteract the economic fallout from containment measures during an epidemic. We incorporate a standard epidemiological model into an equilibrium search model of the labor market to compare unemployment insurance (UI) expansions and payroll subsidies. In isolation, payroll subsidies that preserve match capital and enable a swift economic recovery are preferred over a cost-equivalent UI expansion. When considered jointly, however, a cost-equivalent optimal mix allocates 20 percent of the budget to payroll subsidies ...