We study the labour market and welfare effects of expanding unemployment insurance benefits and introducing payroll subsidies during the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that both policies are complementary and are beneficial to different types of workers. Payroll subsidies preserve the employment of workers in highly productive jobs, while unemployment insurance replaces lost income for workers who experience inevitable job loss.
How might one simulate a million realistic income paths and compute their statistical moments in under a second? Using CUDA-based methods to estimate the Canadian earnings process, I find that the distribution of labour income growth is sharply peaked with heavy tails—similar to that in the United States.