Abstract

The Canadian unemployment insurance program is designed to reflect the varying risk of joblessness across regions. Regions that are considered low-risk areas subsidize higher risk ones. A region's risk is typically proxied by its relative unemployment rate. We use a dynamic, heterogeneous-agent model calibrated to Canada to analyze voters preferences between a uniformly generous unemployment insurance and the current system with asymmetric generosity. We find that Canada's unusual unemployment insurance system is surprisingly close to what voters would choose in spite of the possibilities of moral hazard and self-insurance through asset build-up.

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