OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected labour market, social policy and migration studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

English, French

The Labour Market Effects of Unemployment Compensation in Brazil

This paper analyses the impact of unemployment insurance and severance pay on the duration of nonemployment and transitions from non-employment to formal salaried employment, informal salaried employment and self-employment. It makes use of panel data from the Pesquisa Mensal de Emgrego, a monthly survey for six large cities in Brazil, for the period 2002M3 to 2010M10. The impact of income support to job losers is identified by means of a difference-in-differences approach that exploits eligibility conditions for income support in combination with proportional hazard models that take account of the spell-based nature of the data. A key aspect of the analysis is that it attempts to assess the role of moral hazard while controlling for the role of liquidity effects. The aggregate results indicate that income support has an important impact on the duration of non-employment. This largely appears to be driven by liquidity effects, while the role of moral hazard is limited. By contrast, the analysis by destination state suggests that moral hazard effects dominate liquidity effects associated with income support. The apparent inconsistency between the two sets of results is due to the fact that the aggregate analysis only accounts for moral hazard effects that increase the duration of nonemployment, while the analysis by destination state captures both moral hazard effects in the form of reduced work incentives per se and those in the form of increased incentives to work informally during the period of benefit receipt. In practice, the latter effect may reflect the tendency for firms to employ benefit recipients informally until their benefits expire.


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