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IFS-STICERD Public Economics Seminar & IFS-STICERD Public Economics Seminar

Racial inequality in the U.S. unemployment insurance

Ioana Marinescu (University of Chicago), joint with Daphne Skandalis and Maxim Massenkoff

Wednesday 03 November 2021 16:30 - 17:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.


About this event

In the U.S., the rules commanding the rights to unemployment insurance (UI) are less generous in states with larger Black populations, which means that Black claimants systematically receive less UI than White claimants with the same work history. Quantifying this racial inequality is challenging, as data are collected in each state separately. In this paper, we exploit random audits on UI claims conducted in all states, as part of the federal Benefit Accuracy Measurement program. We combine data on paid and denied claims, to build a novel representative dataset of new claimants. We document that relative to White claimants, Black claimants receive $84.9 (33%) lower weekly benefits. After controlling for claimants' work history, we still find an adjusted racial gap of $10.6 (4%). This comes from Black claimants being 2.4 ppt less likely to be found eligible for UI, and from them receiving $7.6 lower weekly benefits when eligible. We show that these adjusted gaps are entirely driven by the differences in state rules. Therefore, adjusted racial gaps in UI could be eliminated by harmonizing state UI rules.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS and STICERD.

IFS-STICERD Public Economics seminars are held on Wednesdays in term time at 16:30-17:30 ONLINE or at 12.30-12.45 IN PERSON at the IFS.

Seminar organisers: Stuart Adam (IFS), Monica Costa Dias (IFS), Xavier Jaravel (LSE), Camille Landais (LSE), Attila Lindner (UCL), Joana Naritomi (LSE), and Johannes Spinnewijn (LSE).

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email: l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.

Please use this link to subscribe or unsubscribe to the IFS-STICERD Public Economics seminars mailing list (pubecon).

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS and STICERD.

IFS-STICERD Public Economics seminars are held on Wednesdays in term time at 16:30-17:30 ONLINE or at 12.30-12.45 IN PERSON at the IFS.

Seminar organisers: Stuart Adam (IFS), Monica Costa Dias (IFS), Xavier Jaravel (LSE), Camille Landais (LSE), Attila Lindner (UCL), Joana Naritomi (LSE), and Johannes Spinnewijn (LSE).

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email: l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.

Please use this link to subscribe or unsubscribe to the IFS-STICERD Public Economics seminars mailing list (pubecon).