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Voluntary income sharing and the design of unemployment insurance


This paper uses a model of search unemployment to discuss the interaction between publicly provided insurance and informal insurance through voluntary income sharing, e.g., between spouses. Income sharing reduces the optimal level of public unemployment insurance. While it is always individually rational for partners to share income, the effect of voluntary income sharing on welfare will be negative unless partners can either observe each other's search behavior or are sufficiently altruistic towards each other. The model is also used to examine a family-based policy. The welfare gains from using such policy are argued to be small.

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Received: 14 December 2000/Accepted: 5 November 2001

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Anderberg, D. Voluntary income sharing and the design of unemployment insurance. J Popul Econ 16, 71–90 (2003).

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  • JEL classification: H11
  • H31
  • J68
  • Key words: Income sharing
  • unemployment insurance
  • altruism