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Unemployment insurance with endogenous search intensity and precautionary saving
Costain, James
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
A welfare analysis of unemployment insurance (UI) is performed in a generalequilibrium job search model. Finitely-lived, risk-averse workers smooth consumption over time by accumulating assets, choose search effort whenunemployed, and suffer disutility from work. Firms hire workers, purchasecapital, and pay taxes to finance worker benefits; their equity is the assetaccumulated by workers. A matching function relates unemployment, hiringexpenditure, and search effort to the formation of jobs. The model is calibrated to US data; the parameters relating job search effort to the probability of job finding are chosen to match microeconomic studies ofunemployment spells. Under logarithmic utility, numerical simulation shows rather small welfaregains from UI. Even without UI, workers smooth consumption effectivelythrough asset accumulation. Greater risk aversion leads to substantiallylarger welfare gains from UI; however, even in this case much of its welfareimpact is due not to consumption smoothing effects, but rather to decreased work disutility, or to a variety of externalities.
Macroeconomics and International Economics
unemployment insurance
search effort
moral hazard
precautionary saving
life cycle
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