Assistant Professor of Economics
JEL Classification; J64; J65; Unemployment Insurance; Reservation Wage
Although the reservation wage plays a central role in job search models, empirical evidence on the determinants of reservation wages, including key policy variables such as unemployment insurance (UI), is scarce. In France, unemployed people must declare their reservation wage to the Public Employment Service when they register to claim UI benefits.The authors take advantage of these rich French administrative data and of a reform of UI rules to estimate the effect of the potential benefit duration (PBD) on reservation wages and on other dimensions of job selectivity, using a difference-in-difference strategy. They cannot reject that the elasticity of the reservation wage with respect to PBD is zero. Their results are precise and we can rule out elasticities larger than 0.006. Furthermore, they do not find any significant effects of PBD on the desired number of hours, duration of labor contract and commuting time/distance. The estimated elasticity of actual benefit duration with respect to PBD of 0.3 is in line with the consensus in the literature. Exploiting a regression discontinuity design as an alternative identification strategy, they find similar results.