Research Department Working Paper n°49
Unemployment insurance schemes around the world: Evidence and policy options
This article conducts a comparative analysis of unemployment insurance schemes in advanced and emerging economies, with the aim of identifying differences in policy approaches across countries and pointing at possible consequences in terms of policy outcomes.
We conduct a comparative analysis of unemployment insurance (UI) schemes in advanced and emerging economies. We find that almost all countries complement UI with severance payments, although emerging (advanced) economies rely relatively more on severance payments (UI). As a result, UI coverage rates are substantially higher in advanced than emerging economies. We also find that most countries finance their UI collectively (i.e. by workers, employers and the government), but contribution rates are higher in advanced than emerging economies. Turning to entitlement conditions, UI schemes are generally accessible only by dependent employees and formal sector workers and the stringency of qualifying conditions is similar in advanced and emerging economies. We also find that unemployment benefit generosity (i.e. in terms of both benefit level and duration) is higher in advanced than emerging economies. Finally, the integration of active measures within UI schemes is observed across most emerging and advanced economies. However, emerging economies present weaker job-search requirements but stronger sanctions for job refusal compared to advanced economies.