Colloque LINES / LIVES "Parcours de vie et inégalités sociales"

The Effect of Unemployment Insurance Design on Low Birth Weight and on Partners’ Work Effort

Introduction of the SNF research project, “Family Models and Unemployment: How Intra-Household Economics Moderate the Effects of Unemployment Insurance Design” and presentation of some results from the first two papers. Both papers use quasi-experimental designs looking at changes in unemployment insurance benefits (UI) and use administrative data. In the first paper, the researchers explore how partners within a household support each other during periods of unemployment and how that changes as unemployment insurance benefits erode. It is known that in low-earning or young married households, women increase their incomes when their husbands lose their jobs, called the “Added Worker Effect” or AWE. However, it is not known whether the AWE exists for men nor whether it holds in non-traditional families—a rapidly growing demographic. In this paper the researchers examine the AWE effect for men and for those in non-traditional families. After examining the overall AWE, they consider changes when UI is reduced. In the second paper, they explore the impact of UI generosity on birthweight. It has been shown that UI generosity contributes to better health. However, they do not know: whether these effects extend to family members of the unemployed and whether health effects of UI vary depending on partners’ income. This study addresses these gaps by examining how UI reductions impact the birth weight of children of both women who are themselves unemployed and those who have unemployed partners, for both considering whether partner income buffers the detrimental effects of UI cuts.