Working Paper

Labor force participation, job search effort and unemployment insurance in the laboratory

Kiel Working Papers, 2149 Download PDF

How the provision of unemployment benefits affects employment and unemployment is a debated issue. In this paper, we aim at complementing theoretical and empirical contributions to this debate with a laboratory experiment: We simulate a job market with search effort and labor force participation decisions while varying the maximum length of unemployment benefit eligibility. Our results reveal two separable, opposing effects: Individuals within the labor force search with lower effort when unemployment benefits are extended. However, individuals are more likely to participate in the labor force and to actively search for a job. Concerning employment, the second effect dominates so that unemployment benefits raise employment.


Wolfgang Lechthaler - Kiel Institute
Wolfgang Lechthaler
Patrick Ring