August 2004

No. 1253: Geographic Labour Mobility and Unemployment Insurance in Europe

substantially revised version published in: Journal of Population Economics, 2009, 22(2), 267-283

Conventional wisdom suggests that unemployment benefits create a stronger geographic attachment by lowering the willingness of the unemployed to accept job offers. We assess empirically the effect of benefits on geographic labour mobility using individual data from the European Community Household Panel for France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we find that receiving benefits enhances mobility offsetting the negative effect of benefits on the incentives to move. We estimate binary choice panel data models controlling for unobserved heterogeneity using random and fixed effects. The results are invariant to the estimated model.