The Welfare Effects of Involuntary Part-Time Work
Oxford Economic Papers, Vol. 70(1), January 2018, Pages 183-205
24 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2016 Last revised: 26 Dec 2017
Date Written: June 1, 2017
Employed individuals in the U.S. are increasingly more likely to move to involuntarily part-time work than to unemployment. Spells of involuntary part-time work are different from unemployment spells: a full-time worker who takes on a part-time job suffers an earnings loss while remaining employed, and is unlikely to receive income compensation from publicly provided insurance programs. We analyze these differences through the lens of an incomplete-market, job-search model featuring unemployment risk alongside an additional risk of involuntary part-time employment. A calibration of the model consistent with U.S. institutions and labour market dynamics shows that involuntary part-time work generates lower welfare losses relative to unemployment. This finding relies critically on the much higher probability to return to full-time employment from part-time work. We interpret it as a premium in access to full-time work faced by involuntary part-time workers, and use our model to tabulate its value in consumption-equivalent units.
Keywords: Involuntary part-time work, Unemployment, Welfare
JEL Classification: E21, E32, J21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation