6259 Social Insurance and the Labour Market
Prof. Dr. Josef Zweimüller
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
02/28/22 to 04/01/22
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Monday 04/25/22 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM D3.0.222
Tuesday 04/26/22 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D3.0.222
Wednesday 04/27/22 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D3.0.222
Thursday 04/28/22 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM EA.5.044
Friday 04/29/22 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D3.0.222
Tuesday 05/31/22 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D4.0.022
Wednesday 06/01/22 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM EA.5.044
Thursday 06/02/22 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D3.0.222

Part I


Lecture 1: Unemployment Insurance and the Labor Market: Micro Aspects

Chetty, Raj (2006). “A General Formula for the Optimal Level of Social Insurance,” Journal of Public Economics 90: 1879–1901.

Kolsrud, Jonas, Camille Landais, Peter Nilsson and Johannes Spinnewijn (2018). “The Optimal Timing of Unemployment Benefits: Theory and Evidence from Sweden,” American Economic Review 108: 985-1033.

Spinnewijn, Johannes (2020). “The Trade-off between Insurance and Incentives in Differentiated Unemployment Policies,” Fiscal Studies 41: 101-127. Special Issue: 50th Anniversary of IFS.


Lecture 2: Unemployment Insurance and the Labor Market: Extensions and Macro Aspects

Nekoei, Arash and Andrea Weber (2015). “Does Extending Unemployment Benefits Improve Job Quality?,” American Economic Review 107: 527-561.

Lalive, Rafael, Camille Landais and Josef Zweimüller (2015). ”Market Externalities from Large Unemployment Insurance Benefit Extension Programs,” American Economic Review, 105: 3564-3596.

Jäger, Simon, Benjamin Schoefer, Sammy Young and Josef Zweimüller (2020). “Wages and the Value of Nonemployment,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 135: 1905-1963.


Lecture 3: Disability Insurance and Labor Supply

Hamish Low and Luigi Pistaferri (2020). "Disability Insurance: Theoretical Trade-Offs and Empirical Evidence", Fiscal Studies 41: 129-164.

Maestas, Nicole, Kathleen J. Mullen, and Alexander Strand (2013). "Does Disability Insurance Receipt Discourage Work? Using Examiner Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of SSDI Receipt," American Economic Review 103: 1797-1829.

Haller, Andreas, Stefan Staubli and Josef Zweimüller (2020). ”Designing Disability Insurance Reforms: Tightening Eligibility or Reducing Benefits?,” NBER Working Paper No. 27602 (new version, September 2020).


Lecture 4: Pension Reforms and Retirement Behavior

Haller, Andreas (2021). “Welfare Effects of Pensions Reforms,” Job Market Paper, University of Zurich and NHH Bergen.

Seibold, Artur (2020). “Reference Points for Retirement Behavior: Evidence from German Pension Discontinuities,” American Economic Review 111: 1126-1165.

Kolsrud, Johannes, Camille Landais, Daniel Reck and Johannes Spinnewijn (2021). “Retirement Consumption and Pension Design,” mimeo, LSE.


Lecture 5: Family Policies and Gender Inequalites

Olivetti, Claudia, and Barbara Petrongolo (2017). "The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives 31: 205-30.

Kleven, Henrik, Camille Landais, Johanna Posch, Andreas Steinhauer and Josef Zweimüller (2021). “Do Family Policies Shape the Evolution of Gender Inequality? Evidence form 60 Years of Policy Experimentation,” NBER Working Paper No. 28082 (new version February 2021).


Part II

Participants present own research and put it into context with current public debates.

Learning outcomes

In the lecture part, students learn how the recent literature in labor and public literature has studies, theoretically and empirically, the effect of social insurance generosity on labor market outcomes and social welfare. I will start with unemployment insurance (UI). The effect of UI has been extensively studied in labor/public economics literature and the concepts developed in the UI context have been applied recently to other social insurance programs. I will also cover disability insurance, pensions reforms and family policies. Emphasis will be put on studies related to the Austrian labor market.

In the second part of the course, students are required to prepare a presentation of own work and relate it to important current debates; they are also required to participate in the discussion of the work presented by others. They learn to ask on the one side: What has economic analysis to say to issues which worry the public? And on the other side: What do the debates tell to economists?

Attendance requirements

Attendance required

Teaching/learning method(s)

In the first week, the five lectures are presented and discussed. At the end of each day, students are requested to submit comments and questions to the lecture until 5 p.m. same day in the afternoon. It is recommended to study in advance for each lecture at least one of the listed articles. For a positive grade students have to submit a five page summary “lessons learned” (one page per lecture) – Deadline: June 10, 2022.

In the second week, students give a presentation (max 20 slides including tables and figures) of own work. The presentation must be submitted until May 27, 2022. It has to include at least one slide reflecting the relationship between own work and important public debates.


Part I: 50% in total (25% for Summary „lessons learned“, 15% for submitted questions and comments; and 10% for participation in discussion in classroom)

Part II: 50% in total (40% for presentation; and 10% for participation in discussion)

Last edited: 2022-01-25