April 2021

Unintended Consequences of Unemployment Insurance Benefits: The Role of Banks

Yavuz Arslan, Ahmet Degerli, Gazi Kabaş


We use disaggregated U.S. data and a border discontinuity design to show that more generous unemployment insurance (UI) policies lower bank deposits. We test several channels that could explain this decline and find evidence consistent with households lowering their precautionary savings. Since deposits are the largest and most stable source of funding for banks, the decrease in deposits affects bank lending. Banks that raise deposits in states with generous UI policies squeeze their small business lending. Furthermore, counties that are served by these banks experience a higher unemployment rate and lower wage growth.

Accessible materials (.zip)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2021.027

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.

Back to Top
Last Update: August 16, 2021