Thursday, December 30, 2010

Behavioural Economics and Labour Market Policy

Notes on Behavioral Economics and Labor Market Policy
Labor, Jobs and the Economy, Unemployment, U.S. Economy

Linda Babcock, James M. Walton Professor of Economics, Carnegie Mellon University
William J. Congdon, Research Director, Economic Studies
Lawrence F. Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Economics, Harvard University; Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution

I am currently reading this paper with a view to thinking about the applicability to the Irish and UK labour market. Their suggestions for policy reform are below. Any policy people who read this blog and are interested in unemployment should read this paper. Would be great to start thinking concretely about applications in the Irish case.
Recommendations for policy reform

Unemployment compensation. Should include wage-loss insurance in some form. In addition to the insurance benefits it provides, wage-loss insurance offers a way of assisting individuals with the psychological adjustment to changing labor market conditions and addresses likely biases in wage expectations that impede work incentives.

Employment services and job search assistance. Should be expanded to provide more accessible and meaningful information about labor market conditions and occupational projections. These programs should help address procrastination in job search and provide guidance to unemployed and low-wage individuals in a way that both reflects and takes advantage of the way people process information.

Job training. Should simplify program take-up, navigation, and completion, and provide user-friendly information on the quality of training providers. These programs should structure choices to reflect the limited abilities of individuals to manage complexity and exert self-control.

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