Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 1998:2: Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium

Peter Fredriksson () and Bertil Holmlund ()
Additional contact information
Peter Fredriksson: Department of Economics, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Bertil Holmlund: Department of Economics, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: Should unemployment compensation be paid indefinitely at a fixed rate or should it decline (or increase) over a worker’s unemployment spell? We examine these issues using an equilibrium model of search unemployment. The model features worker-firm bargaining over wages, free entry of new jobs, and endogenous search effort among the unemployed. The main result is that an optimal insurance program implies a declining sequence of unemployment compensation over the spell of unemployment. Numerical calibrations of the model suggest that there are non-trivial welfare gains associated with switching from an optimal uniform benefit structure to an optimally differentiated system.

Keywords: Job search; Unemployment; Unemployment insurance

JEL-codes: D83; H21; J65

33 pages, January 19, 1998

Full text files

OptUI_992.pdf PDF-file Revised version
1998wp2.pdf PDF-file Original version

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