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McCourt School professor Adriana Kugler will study the effect of unemployment insurance benefits on match quality and job mobility, thanks to a grant from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

Along with Georgetown’s Ph.D. candidate Ammar Farooq, the authors will examine whether unemployment insurance benefit extensions improve job match quality. 

A longstanding question regarding unemployment insurance (UI) is whether recipients make use of funds to finance longer job searches, therefore finding better jobs. A handful of studies to date have examined the impact of UI on wages and have found no effect, but if this project is able to find effects on match quality then it will make an important contribution. 

It could also be important to understanding the role that unemployment insurance plays in improving worker outcomes and overall macroeconomic performance. Unemployment insurance is typically understood by policymakers as a social insurance program. The idea that it might improve productivity by facilitating better match quality is poorly understood, and key to better understanding policy levers for macro performance.

Kugler explained, “I am excited about receiving support from Equitable Growth to be able to answer this important question about the efficiency effects of this important social insurance program, which was crucial in keeping millions out of poverty during the Great Recession.”

Kugler is a Full Professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. She served as Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Labor in 2011 and 2012, where she worked actively on developing policies and proposals on unemployment insurance, training programs, retirement benefits, overtime pay and minimum wages, immigration, disability insurance, and occupational safety regulations. 

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth is a research and grantmaking organization founded to accelerate cutting-edge analysis into whether and how structural changes in the U.S. economy, particularly related to economic inequality, affect growth. Core to our mission is helping to build a stronger bridge between academics and policymakers so that new research is relevant, accessible, and informative to the policymaking process.