Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Business and Economics



First Advisor

Dr. James P. Ziliak


My dissertation consists of three essays focusing on unemployment insurance (UI) and how it affects recipients. The first essay examines how UI generosity affects the search intensity of recipients through matching American Time Use Survey respondents to all of their observations in the Current Population Survey (CPS), the population from which they are drawn. Earnings from the CPS are then run through a benefit calculator that determines eligibility and benefit amounts which are used to determine how UI generosity affects search times. The second essay uses the Survey of Income and Program Participation to examine how lesser known policies affecting UI eligibility of workers with limited earnings histories, part-time workers, voluntary job leavers, and expanding benefit amounts for individuals with children affect unemployment duration. The third essay examines how liquidity constraints affect the consumption smoothing benefits of UI. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1968-2012, I find that the consumption smoothing benefits of UI that past studies have found are primarily concentrated on the 27% of households that do not have other means of smoothing consumption. For these households, a 10 percentage-point increase in the replacement rate reduces the decline in consumption by between 3.5-4.9% using food consumption and 1.5-2.1% using imputed total consumption.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)