We study an individual's incentive to search for a job in the presence of random criminal opportunities. These opportunities extenuate moral hazard, as the individual sometimes commits crime rather than searching. Even when he searches, he applies less effort. We then revisit the design of optimal unemployment insurance in this environment. If the individual is more likely to remain unemployed and unpunished when he commits crime than when he searches for a job (as suggested by empirical studies), declining unemployment benefits reduce the payoff from crime relative to that from searching. Compared to the canonical models of optimal unemployment insurance, this provides a further incentive to reduce benefits over time.
Unemployment insurance Moral hazard Crime Recursive contracts