.ISSN (e) 1759-7331
(print) 1759-7323
Quantitative Economics
An open-access journal in quantitative economics
Journal of the
Econometric Society
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Quantitative Economics, Volume 10, Issue 2 (May 2019)

Optimal unemployment insurance with monitoring

Ofer Setty

Abstract



I model job‐search monitoring in the optimal unemployment insurance framework, in which job‐search effort is the worker's private information. In the model, monitoring provides costly information upon which the government conditions unemployment benefits. Using a simple one‐period model with two effort levels, I show analytically that the monitoring precision increases and the utility spread decreases if and only if the inverse of the worker's utility in consumption has a convex derivative. The quantitative analysis that follows extends the model by allowing a continuous effort and separations from employment. That analysis highlights two conflicting economic forces affecting the optimal precision of monitoring with respect to the generosity of the welfare system: higher promised utility is associated not only with a higher cost of moral hazard, but also with lower effort and lower value of employment. The result is an inverse U‐shaped precision profile with respect to promised utility.

Unemployment insurance optimal contracts moral hazard job‐search monitoring D82 E24 J64 J65

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