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Keywords:Unemployment 

Working Paper
Income in the Off-Season: Household Adaptation to Yearly Work Interruptions

Joblessness is highly seasonal. To analyze how households adapt to seasonal joblessness, we introduce a measure of seasonal work interruptions premised on the idea that a seasonal worker will tend to exit employment around the same time each year. We show that an excess share of prime-age US workers experience recurrent separations spaced exactly 12 months apart. These separations coincide with aggregate seasonal downturns and are concentrated in seasonally volatile industries. Examining workers most prone to seasonal work interruptions, we find that these workers incur large earnings losses ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-084

Working Paper
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 additional insurance is most valuable. I investigate whether the small response is an outcome of the crowding-out effects of existing government transfers, using a model where labor supply elasticities with respect to transfers are in line with microeconomic estimates both in aggregate and across subpopulations. Counterfactual experiments reveal that generous transfers in recessions discourage the spousal labor supply significantly. I then show that the ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-020

Discussion Paper
COVID-19: Unemployment Claims and Unemployment in Virginia

Over the course of three weeks (from March 15 to April 4), more than 360,000 Virginians filed for unemployment. What does this mean for other employment measures and where might we see Virginia's unemployment rate go?
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
Unemployment Insurance Programs and the Role of the States

In recent weeks, unemployment insurance claims have hit record numbers. But what exactly do unemployment insurance programs cover? And what roles do states play?
Regional Matters

Working Paper
Labor Market Policies During an Epidemic

We study the effects and welfare implications of labor market policies that counteract the economic fall out from containment policies 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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-024

Working Paper
Job Applications and Labor Market Flows

Unemployment inflows have declined sharply since the 1980s while unemployment outflows have remained mostly steady despite a rise in workers' applications over time. Using a random search model of multiple applications with costly information, we show how rising applications incentivize more firms to acquire information, improving the realized distribution of match qualities. Higher concentrations of high productivity matches reduce the incidence of endogenous separations, causing unemployment inflow rates to fall. Quantitatively, our model replicates the relative change in inflow and outflow ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-023

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-020

Working Paper
Reservation Benefits: Assessing job acceptance impacts of increased UI payments

Job acceptance decisions weigh the value of an entire job spell relative to remaining unemployed. There exists a reservation level of benefit payments in this dynamic decision problem at which an individual is indifferent between accepting and refusing an offer. This reservation benefit is a simple statistic to test the job acceptance deterrence effects of current unemployment insurance (UI) payments, summarizing the decision problem conditional on the believed state of the labor market and the weeks of UI compensation remaining. Estimating the reservation benefit for a wide range of US ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2020-28

Discussion Paper
Interpreting Unemployment Data in the Time of COVID-19

Since mid-March, a record number of people have become unemployed and filed for unemployment benefits. While both the unemployment rate and the number of unemployment insurance claims have fallen since the peak in April, the number of unemployment claims has been falling at a much slower rate. Policy changes and the unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to this deviation and may impact the way labor market health is evaluated going forward.
Regional Matters

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-024

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