During the Great Recession, millions of Americans found themselves out of work. The federal government’s response to the large increase in unemployment was to extend the number of weeks of unemployment insurance an individual may collect while unemployed. It was during this time that the nation also saw a dramatic rise in average unemployment duration to record levels. This paper seeks to determine whether the federal benefit increase was a contributing factor to the sharp rise in unemployment duration. The analysis found that extending unemployment benefits increased unemployment duration spells. When examining all duration spells, each additional week of unemployment benefits resulted in a 0.08 week increase in unemployment duration. There was evidence of a larger impact on the long-term unemployed. For every additional week of unemployment benefits, unemployment duration increased by 0.16 weeks for those individuals who had been unemployed at least 26 weeks.
Professional paper for the fulfillment of the Master of Public Policy program.
"Worth the Wait?" Measuring the Impact of Extending Unemployment Benefits on Unemployment Duration during the Great Recession.
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
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