Publication Date



Upjohn Institute working paper ; 22-369




We use administrative data to quantify the firm role in unemployment insurance (UI) take-up. First, there are firm effects in both claiming and appeals, and, consistent with deterrence effects, these are negatively correlated. Second, low-wage workers are less likely to claim and more likely to have their claims appealed than median-wage workers, and firm effects explain a large share of these income gradients. Third, high-claiming and low-appealing firms are desirable firms: they are higher-paying and have lower separation rates. Finally, the dominant source of targeting error in the UI system is that eligible workers do not apply. Our findings emphasize a novel dimension of the role of firms in the labor market, and have implications for the financing of UI.

Issue Date

July 2022

Subject Areas

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


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Lachowska, Marta, Isaac Sorkin, and Stephen A. Woodbury. 2022. "Firms and Unemployment Insurance Take-Up." Upjohn Institute Working Paper 22-369. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.