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Structural change, unemployment benefits and high unemployment: a US - European comparison

Author: Burda, Michael C. INSEAD Area: Economics and Political ScienceIn: The art of full employment by Michael C. Burda; Elsevier, 1991 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 399-422.Type of document: INSEAD ChapterNote: Please ask the Library for this chapter.Abstract: This chapter reconsiders the position that unemployment benefits have played a subordinate role in the evolution of unmployment in Western Europe. First the theories that predict a positive relationship between equilibrium unemployment and level of unemployment benefits are briefly reviewed. While there is evidence for this relationship in the most recent decade, the puzzle lies inexplaining the low levels of European unemployment in the 1960s and early 1970s, when these programmes were often just as generous. It is then shown that the sensitivity of unemployment to the inflow rate in Pissarides (1985) model of equilibrium unemployment is positively related to the level of unemployment benefits. This channel represents a potential explanation of the puzzle
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This chapter reconsiders the position that unemployment benefits have played a subordinate role in the evolution of unmployment in Western Europe. First the theories that predict a positive relationship between equilibrium unemployment and level of unemployment benefits are briefly reviewed. While there is evidence for this relationship in the most recent decade, the puzzle lies inexplaining the low levels of European unemployment in the 1960s and early 1970s, when these programmes were often just as generous. It is then shown that the sensitivity of unemployment to the inflow rate in Pissarides (1985) model of equilibrium unemployment is positively related to the level of unemployment benefits. This channel represents a potential explanation of the puzzle

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