nep-ias New Economics Papers
on Insurance Economics
Issue of 2005‒12‒20
four papers chosen by
Soumitra K Mallick
Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Bussiness Management

  1. The provision of wage insurance by the firm: evidence from a longitudinal matched employer-employee dataset By Miguel Portela; Ana Rute Cardoso
  2. Heterogeneity of preferences, limited commitment and coalitions : empirical evidence on the limits to risk sharing in rural Pakistan By Dubois, P.
  3. Deliver us from evil: religion as insurance. By Andrew E. Clark; Orsolya Lelkes
  4. Do benefit hikes damage job finding? Evidence from Swedish unemployment insurance reforms By Bennmarker, Helge; Carling, Kenneth; Holmlund, Bertil

  1. By: Miguel Portela (Universidade do Minho - NIPE, Tinbergen Institute and IZA Bonn); Ana Rute Cardoso (IZA Bonn, Universidade do Minho, and CEPR)
    Abstract: We evaluate the impact of product market uncertainty on workers wages, addressing the questions: To what extent do firms provide insurance to their workforce, insulating their wages from shocks in product markets? How does the amount of insurance provided vary with firm and worker attributes? We use a longitudinal matched employer-employee dataset of remarkable quality. The empirical strategy is based on Guiso et al. (2005). We first estimate dynamic models of sales and wages to retrieve consistent estimates of shocks to firms’ sales and to workers’ earnings. We are then able to estimate the sensitivity of wages to permanent and transitory shocks to firm performance. Results point to the rejection of the full insurance hypothesis. Workers’ wages respond to permanent shocks to firm performance, whereas they are not sensitive to transitory shocks. Managers are not fully insured against transitory shocks, while they receive the same protection against permanent shocks as workers in other occupations. Firms with higher variability in their sales, and those operating in di?erent industries, o?er more insurance against permanent shocks. Comparison with Guiso et al. (2005) indicates that Portuguese firms provide less insurance than Italian firms, corroborating evidence on the high degree of wage flexibility in Portugal.
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Dubois, P.
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the determinants of the value of informal risk sharing groups. In particular, we look at the effects of heterogeneity of preferences and of limited commitment constraints that restrict feasible allocations differently if individuals can deviate form risk sharing agreements in coalitions or not. We test impirically several predictable implications in rural Pakistan taking into account the heterogeneity of households' preferences. Our results show that exogenous size of risk sharing groups can be rejected or that only imperfect risk sharing is obtained within the village because of limited commitment and because of the risk of coalition formation that needs to be deterred. ...French Abstract : L'auteur étudie les déterminants de la valeur du partage de risque informel dans un groupe. En particulier, il étudie les effets de l'hétérogénéité des préférences et de l'engagementlimité sur les limites au partage des risques. Plusieurs implications sur des données au Pakistan sont testées, en tenant compte de l'hétérogénéité des préférences des ménages. Les résultats montrent qu'une taille, exogène des groupes de partage de risque peut-être rejetée ou qu'un partage de risque imparfait est obtenu dans le village à cause de contraintes d'engagement limité et à cause du risque de formation de coalitions.
    Date: 2005
  3. By: Andrew E. Clark; Orsolya Lelkes
    Abstract: This paper focusses on the insurance role of religion in buffering the well-being impact of stressful life events, and the ensuing economic and social implications. Using two large-scale European data sets, we show that the religious enjoy higher levels of life satisfaction, and that religion does insure against some adverse life events. All denominations suffer less psychological harm from unemployment than do the non-religious; equally both Catholics and Protestants are less hurt by marital separation. However, while Protestants are protected against divorce, Catholics are punished for it. These results do not seem to come about from the endogeneity of religion. These patterns in subjective well-being correspond to data on both attitudes (the religious are both anti-divorce and anti-job creation for the unemployed) and behaviour (the religious unemployed are less likely to be actively looking for work). In panel data, as implied by insurance, the religious have less variation in life satisfaction. Last, we suggest that religion's insurance role might be reflected in support for different economic and social systems: consistent with this, unemployment replacement rates across Europe are lower in more religious countries.
    Date: 2005
  4. By: Bennmarker, Helge (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation); Carling, Kenneth (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation); Holmlund, Bertil (Department of Economics, Uppsala University)
    Abstract: In 2001 and 2002, Sweden introduced several unemployment insurance reforms. A major innovation in the first reform was the introduction of a two-tiered benefit structure for some unemployed individuals. This system involved supplementary compensation during the first 20 weeks of unemployment. The 2002 reform retained the two-tiered benefit structure but involved also substantial benefit hikes for spells exceeding 20 weeks. This paper examines how these reforms affected transitions from unemployment to employment. We take advantage of the fact that the reforms had quasi-experimental features where the “treatments” differed considerably among unemployed individuals. We find that the reforms had strikingly different effects on job finding among men and women. The two reforms in conjunction are estimated to have increased the expected duration of unemployment among men but to have decreased the duration of unemployment among women. The overall effect on the duration of unemployment is not statistically different from zero. However, the reforms reduced job finding among males who remained unemployed for more than 20 weeks.
    Keywords: Unemployment duration; unemployment benefits
    JEL: J64 J65
    Date: 2005–11–28

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