Unemployment insurance policy in New England: background and issues
Almost two-thirds of the states, and all the New England states except New Hampshire, have exhausted their unemployment insurance trust fund and borrowed from the federal government at least once during the past 35 years. Under such circumstances, states are required by law to raise unemployment insurance taxes in order to replenish their trust funds and to pay off their debts to the federal government. Since higher unemployment insurance taxes increase employer costs, replenishment forces states into a trade-off between economic competitiveness and trust fund adequacy. In recent years, ...
Unemployment insurance fraud
Concealed Earnings fraud accounts for almost two-thirds of the total overpayments due to all fraud.
The labor market implications of unemployment insurance and short-term compensation
Two types of unemployment insurance systems are studied. In one, unemployed workers receive benefits while those on reduced hours do not, as in North America (at least until recently). In the other, short-time compensation is paid to workers on reduced hours, as in Europe. With incomplete experience-rating of unemployment insurance taxes, the first system leads to inefficient temporary layoffs. The latter system does not lead to layoffs but does lead to inefficient hours per worker. Some cross-country evidence is presented regarding these effects. The implication of the analysis is that ...
The Limited Macroeconomic Effects of Unemployment Benefit Extensions
By how much does an extension of unemployment benefits affect macroeconomic outcomes such as unemployment? Answering this question is challenging because U.S. law extends benefits for states experiencing high unemployment. We use data revisions to decompose the variation in the duration of benefits into the part coming from actual differences in economic conditions and the part coming from measurement error in the real-time data used to determine benefit extensions. Using only the variation coming from measurement error, we find that benefit extensions have a limited influence on state-level ...
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 ...
The great American job machine
When the tide goes out: unemployment insurance trust funds and the Great Recession, lessons for and from New England
The unemployment insurance (UI) program is a federal-state program aiming to: (1) provide temporary, partial compensation for the lost earnings of individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own and (2) serve as a stabilizer during economic downturns by injecting additional resources into the economy in the form of benefit payments. Each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, operates its own UI program within federal guidelines. ; Since the onset of the Great Recession in late 2007, two-thirds of state UI programs depleted their trust funds ...
Extended unemployment and UI benefits
During the current labor market downturn, unemployment duration has reached levels well above its previous highs. Analysis of unemployment data suggests that extended unemployment insurance benefits have not been important factors in the increase in the duration of unemployment or in the elevated unemployment rate.
Unemployment Insurance during a Pandemic
The CARES Act implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis dramatically increased the generosity of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, triggering concerns about substantial effects on unemployment. This paper combines a labor market search-matching model with the SIR-type infection dynamics to study the effects of the CARES Act UI on both unemployment and infection. More generous UI policies create work disincentives and lead to higher unemployment but also reduce infection and save lives. Economic shutdown policies further amplify these effects of UI policies. Quantitatively, the CARES ...