Finance and Economics Discussion Series (FEDS)
These Caps Spilleth Over: Equilibrium Effects of Unemployment Insurance
Cynthia L. Doniger and Desmond Toohey
The design of US unemployment insurance (UI) policy--which features benefits assigned as a percentage of past wages up to a cap--engenders tests for spillovers from policy variation to workers who are not directly treated. We test for and find a pattern of spillovers from state-level UI policy changes that cannot be neatly reconciled with workhorse or cutting-edge models of UI spillovers. Instead, we show that the documented pattern conforms with the predictions of a canonical model of information frictions: wage posting with random search. Taken together, our results provide novel evidence of quantitatively- and policy-relevant information frictions in this market. Moreover, our estimates suggest that aggregate unemployment of insured individuals would decrease if the replacement rate were increased while holding the cap constant.
PDF: Full Paper
Disclaimer: The economic research that is linked from this page represents the views of the authors and does not indicate concurrence either by other members of the Board's staff or by the Board of Governors. The economic research and their conclusions are often preliminary and are circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment. The Board values having a staff that conducts research on a wide range of economic topics and that explores a diverse array of perspectives on those topics. The resulting conversations in academia, the economic policy community, and the broader public are important to sharpening our collective thinking.