Discussion papers // School of Economics and Management of the Hanover Leibniz University 377
We develop a simple model of labor market participation, human capital degradation, and re-training. We focus on how non-participation, as a distinct state from unemployment and employment, is determined by the welfare system in interaction with labor market conditions and personal characteristics. We provide a tractable framework to analyze how the decisions to exit the labor force and to mitigate human capital degradation by re-training depend on a broad range of factors such as education, skill degradation, age, labor market shocks, labor taxes, unemployment insurance benefits and social assistance. We extend our framework by allowing for time-inconsistent choices and demonstrate the possibility of an unemployment trap.