Essays on Unemployment Insurance and Risky Behavior

This dissertation contributes to literatures on the design and effects of two important public policies: Unemployment insurance and the minimum legal drinking age. I provide two unique perspectives on the design of unemployment insurance programs. First, by studying an oft-ignored policy parameter which influences benefit generosity, and second by analyzing an understudied margin along which these programs affect work incentives. I extend the literature on the minimum legal drinking age by empirically testing the hypothesis that increases in alcohol consumption at the drinking age have causal spillover effects on the alcohol consumption of younger peers.