Unemployment Insurance Project

Project description: This project of 15 oral histories provides a survey of the history and development of the Unemployment Insurance Service in the United States. The interviewees discuss the relationship of unemployment insurance to the Social Security Board, to the Department of Labor and to organized labor. They offer useful background on various areas of New Deal activity.

Regulatory significance: This collection deals with a number of regulatory issues related to rule-making, monitoring, and enforcing of unemployment insurance, with interviewees who worked on unemployment insurance from the 1930s up to 1980. According to the project abstract, the participants describe policy development for unemployment insurance in terms of eligibility requirements, disqualification, merit and experience ratings, duration, benefit formulas, and supplemental and temporary extended benefits. There are interesting comparisons of state and federal programs and the degree of control in each case, together with examples of lobbying on state and national levels, and problems of financing the programs.

RepositoryColumbia Center for Oral History

Interview dates: 1980-1982

Digital access: Only abstracts. No online transcripts or audio.

Physical access: For transcripts and audio, researchers may visit the Columbia Center for Oral History.


Interviewees: Ralph Altman; Joseph M. Becker; Geraldine Beideman; Saul Blaustein; Philip Booth; Eveline M. Burns; Ewan Clague; Wilbur J. Cohen; Edward L. Cushman; Margaret M. Dahm; Robert B. Edwards; Robert C. Goodwin; William Haber; Curtis P. Harding; Russell Hibberd; J. Eldred Hill, Jr.; Edward L. Keenan; Leonard Lesser; Wilbur D. Mills; William U. Norwood; William Papier; Beman Pound; George S. Roche; James M. Rosbrow; Harold Rosemont; Murray A. Rubin; Marion Williamson.

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