Unemployment insurance and unemployment accounts: The best of both worlds

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Unemployment accounts are mandatory individual savings accounts that can be used only during unemployment or retirement. Unlike unemployment insurance, unemployment accounts solve the moral hazard problem but provide no public insurance toworkers. I study a hybrid system that borrows from concepts of both unemployment insurance and unemployment accounts, in which workers are mandated to save when employed and can withdraw from the account when unemployed. Once the account is exhausted, the unemployed worker receives unemployment benefits. This hybrid policy provides insurance to workers more efficiently than an unemployment insurance system because it provides government benefits selectively. As a consequence, young workers can reduce their precautionary savings and better smooth their consumption over the life cycle. Calibrating the model to the US economy, I find that, relative to an optimal unemployment insurance system, the optimal hybrid policy leads to a welfare gain of 2.4%, measured as consumption equivalent variation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjvx005
Pages (from-to)1302-1340
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of the European Economic Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017


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