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I Wonder…

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… how many are the people who believe, on one hand, that the promise of receipt of a weekly $600 unemployment check from the U.S. government has no impact on recipients’ willingness to work, and also believe, on the other hand, that most workers without paid family leave are pressured by their financial circumstances to work even when they are ill or have at home sick children.

Whatever are the merits or demerits of government paying out generous unemployment benefits, if the provision of paid leave increases workers’ likelihood of remaining home (as paid-leave advocates insist), then it’s implausible to the point of preposterous to suppose that the provision of unemployment benefits will not have a similar effect.

I’m aware that some people will huff and puff and snort at my argument with condescension. They’ll point out that, unlike with unemployment benefits, paid family leave is available only when workers or family members are ill. The correct economic response to such huffing, puffing, and snorting is to note the arbitrariness of insisting that, in one case, workers are unresponsive to changes in income they experience when making labor-supply decisions, and, in the other case, that workers are indeed responsive to such changes in income when making labor-supply decisions.

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