Unemployed couples: the labour market effects of making both partners search for work

summary:

This paper evaluates the effect of a recent change to unemployment benefit in the UK requiring both partners in a couple (rather than just one) to search for work.  The difference-in-differences estimator is extended in two ways.  First, variations in when the change was implemented are exploited to test and adjust for bias resulting from differential trends among the comparison group.  Second, the approach is combined with matching to relax functional form restrictions.  After some months, positive effects on benefit exit were detected but effects on job entry were less apparent.  Mostly, the effect operated through the female partner.

PSI Research Discussion Paper 13

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