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Recent Extensions of U.S. Unemployment Benefits: Search Responses in Alternative Labor Market States
In response to the 2007-09 ?Great Recession,? the maximum duration of U.S. unemployment benefits was increased from the normal level of 26 weeks to an unprecedented 99 weeks. I estimate the impact of these extensions on job search, comparing them with the more limited extensions associated with the milder 2001 recession. The analyses rely on monthly matched microdata from the Current Population Survey. I find that a 10-week extension of UI benefits raises unemployment duration by about 1.5 weeks, with little variation across the two episodes. This estimate lies in the middle-to-upper end of ...
Optimal unemployment insurance and cyclical fluctuations
The authors study the design of optimal unemployment insurance in an environment with moral hazard and cyclical fluctuations. The optimal unemployment insurance contract balances the insurance motive to provide consumption for the unemployed with the provision of incentives to search for a job. This balance is affected by aggregate conditions, as recessions are characterized by reductions in job finding rates. We show how benefits should vary with aggregate conditions in an optimal contract. In a special case of the model, the optimal contract can be solved in closed form. We show how this ...
Do Unemployment Benefits Expirations Help Explain the Surge in Job Openings?
Job openings are arguably one of the most important indicators of recovery in the labor market, as they reflect employers? willingness to hire. The number of job openings has recovered steadily since the recession, yet through the end of 2013, the openings rate was still substantially below its pre-recession peak (see chart below). Starting in January 2014, however, the number of job openings increased dramatically, up by 20 percent through June 2014, and job openings relative to employment jumped back to the peak of the previous expansion. In this post, we argue that the expiration of the ...