U.S. Labour Market Policy and the Canada--U.S. Unemployment Rate Gap
In this paper, we investigate the extent to which changes in U.S. labour market policy in the 1980s may have contributed to the emergence of an unemployment rate gap between Canada and the United States. In that decade, unemployment insurance benefits became taxable, income tax rates fell substantially, and various administrative changes were made that effectively tightened unemployment insurance eligibility requirements. These policy changes are evaluated in the context of a computable equilibrium model of the labour market. Our estimates suggest that all of these reforms together can account for no more than a 0.4 percentage point decline in U.S. natural rate of unemployment; a combined effect which accounts for 20 percent of the unemployment rate gap.
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