Andrew Figura and David Ratner | This paper presents estimates of the effect of unemployment benefit extensions during the Great Recession on unemployment and labor force participation. Unlike many recent studies of this subject, our estimates, following the work of Hagedorn, Karahan, Manovskii, and Mitman (2016), are inclusive of the effects of benefit extensions on employer, as well as, worker behavior. To identify the effect of benefit extensions, we use plausibly exogenous changes in the rules governing benefit extensions and their differential effects on the maximum duration of benefits across states. We find that the effect of benefit extensions is likely modest, with a 90 percent confidence interval of the effect on the unemployment rate ranging from 0 to 1/2 percentage point.

FRB: Finance and Economics Discussion Series Working Papers

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