Year

2015

Series

Upjohn Institute working paper ; 15-240

DOI

10.17848/wp15-240

Abstract

We analyze empirically the optimal design of social insurance and assistance programs when families obtain insurance by making labor supply choices for both spouses. For this purpose, we specify a structural life-cycle model of the labor supply and savings decisions of singles and married couples. Partial insurance against wage and employment shocks is provided by social programs, savings, and the labor supplies of all adult household members. The optimal policy mix focuses mainly on Social Assistance, which provides a permanent universal household income floor, with a minor role for temporary earnings-related Unemployment Insurance. Reflecting that married couples obtain intra-household insurance by making labor supply choices for both spouses, the optimal generosity of Social Assistance decreases in the proportion of married individuals in the population. The link between optimal program design and the family context is strongest in low-educated populations.

Issue Date

October 31, 2015

Sponsorship

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, Early Career Research Award grant 12-137-10

Subject Areas

UNEMPLOYMENT, DISABILITY, and INCOME SUPPORT PROGRAMS; Unemployment insurance; Benefits and duration

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Citation

Haan, Peter, and Victoria Prowse. 2015. "Optimal Social Assistance and Unemployment Insurance in a Life-Cycle Model of Family Labor Supply and Savings." Upjohn Institute Working Paper 15-240. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. https://doi.org/10.17848/wp15-240