NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Samuel G. Young

Department of Economics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

NBER Working Papers and Publications

November 2018Wages and the Value of Nonemployment
with Simon Jäger, Benjamin Schoefer, Josef Zweimüller: w25230
Nonemployment is often posited as a worker's outside option in wage setting models such as bargaining and wage posting. The value of this state is therefore a fundamental determinant of wages and, in turn, labor supply and job creation. We measure the effect of changes in the value of nonemployment on wages in existing jobs and among job switchers. Our quasi-experimental variation in nonemployment values arises from four large reforms of unemployment insurance (UI) benefit levels in Austria. We document that wages are insensitive to UI benefit levels: point estimates imply a wage response of less than $0.01 per $1.00 UI benefit increase, and we can reject sensitivities larger than 0.03. In contrast, a calibrated Nash bargaining model predicts a sensitivity of 0.39 – more than ten times lar...
 
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