Publication Date



Upjohn Institute working paper ; 16-250




Wage insurance is a program that attempts to help permanently displaced workers transition to employment rapidly, effectively, and equitably. Because displaced workers have been found to suffer substantial earnings losses when they become reemployed, a wage insurance program provides a temporary wage supplement that partially reduces the wage loss experienced by targeted, newly reemployed workers. While participating workers receive a “wage supplement,” the program is called “wage insurance” because of its design as a social insurance program rather than an income transfer program. This paper provides a discussion of the development of wage insurance as a policy option in the United States and proposals that have had varying goals and designs.

Issue Date

January 18, 2016

Subject Areas

LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Job security and unemployment dynamics; Dislocated workers; UNEMPLOYMENT, DISABILITY, and INCOME SUPPORT PROGRAMS; Unemployment insurance


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Wandner, Stephen A. 2016. "Wage Insurance as a Policy Option in the United States." Upjohn Institute Working Paper 16-250. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.