Economics Seminar Series

Emilie Jackson, Michigan State University.

Emilie Jackson, Michigan State University

Emilie Jackson, Michigan State University

Effects of Unemployment Insurance for Self-Employed and Marginally-Attached Workers

We study the temporary extension of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to groups of workers typically excluded from the UI system---including gig workers, the self-employed more broadly, and labor market entrants with limited work experience---implemented as part of the United States policy response to the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. Although enacted at the federal level, the state-level implementation resulted in large differences in the roll-out of benefits across jurisdictions in practice. We exploit this cross-state variation to estimate the causal impacts of these UI expansions on the labor market earnings, education choices, and mortality of affected groups using a spatial regression discontinuity design. We find that every additional dollar in UI payments received by self-employed workers led to a 30-cent reduction in their earnings and find bigger reductions among platform-based gig workers of 48 cents. One explanation for larger responses among gig workers is that delivery remained a viable work option even as many other sectors were largely shut down by the pandemic. We find that the reduction in work reduced mortality among older gig workers by 0.36 percentage points that can be plausibly linked to reduced exposure to COVID through work---but find no effect among the self-employed more broadly.


DATE: Friday, December 8, 2023

TIME: 3:30-5:00 p.m.

LOCATION: Fronczak 444