On the Desirability of Unemployment Accounts

Christian Zimmerman

Assistant Vice President

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Unemployment insurance programs are often criticized because they encourage various forms of shirking: the unemployed may not try hard enough to look for a new job or may turn down reasonable job offers. Also, the taxes that finance such programs are thought to decrease the labor supply.  This talk will look at an alternative way of insuring against unemployment events through personalized unemployment accounts. We will discuss their advantages but also warn against potential pitfalls. The discussion will be backed up by simulations performed on the labor markets of Oregon, Austria and France.

Tuesday May 14

Steitz Hall 102

4:30 p.m.