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The German Unemployment Compensation System: Effects On Aggregate Savings And Wealth Distribution

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The effects of the German unemployment compensation system on aggregate savings and the distribution of wealth are studied in a general equilibrium 60–period OLG model. The distribution of wealth is derived as an endogenous function of the parameters characterizing the unemployment compensation system, which comprises unemployment insurance (Arbeitslosengeld), unemployment assistance (Arbeitslosenhilfe), and welfare payments (Sozialhilfe), the latter two being subject to a means test. As our main results: (i) both aggregate savings and wealth equality are a monotone decreasing function of unemployment benefits; (ii) optimal unemployment compensation declines over the spell of unemployment; (iii) asset–based means tests are shown to reduce welfare if the allowable wealth level is below the average wealth in the economy.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: University of Bamberg and CESifo, Munich

Publication date: September 1, 2002

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