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The great moderation in micro labor earnings

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  • Sabelhaus, John
  • Song, Jae
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Abstract

Between 1980 and the early 1990s the variability of labor earnings growth rates across the prime-age working population fell significantly. This decline and timing are consistent with other macro and micro observations about growth variability that are collectively referred to as the "Great Moderation." The variability of earnings growth is negatively correlated with age at any point in time, and the U.S. working age population got older during this period because the Baby Boom was aging. However, the decrease in variability was roughly uniform across all age groups, so population aging is not the source of the overall decline. The variance of log changes also declined at multi-year frequencies in such a way as to suggest that both permanent and transitory components of earnings shocks became more moderate. A simple identification strategy for separating age and cohort effects shows a very intuitive pattern of permanent and transitory shocks over the life cycle, and confirms that a shift over time in the stochastic process occurred even after controlling for age effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 57 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (May)
Pages: 391-403

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:57:y:2010:i:4:p:391-403

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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Keywords: Labor earnings Earnings volatility Great moderation;

References

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  1. Steven J. Davis & James A. Kahn, 2008. "Interpreting the Great Moderation: Changes in the Volatility of Economic Activity at the Macro and Micro Levels," NBER Working Papers 14048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "Learning Your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really Very Persistent?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 687-712, June.
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  14. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2008. "Deconstructing Lifecycle Expenditure," Working Papers wp173, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  15. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
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  17. Robert A. Moffitt & Peter Gottschalk, 2002. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Earnings in the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C68-C73, March.
  18. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jonathan A. Schwabish & Julie H. Topoleski, 2013. "Modeling Individual Earnings in CBO’s Long-Term Microsimulation Model: Working Paper 2013-04," Working Papers 44306, Congressional Budget Office.
  2. Christopher Carroll & Jiri Slacalek & Martin Sommer, 2012. "Dissecting Saving Dynamics: Measuring Wealth, Precautionary, and Credit Effects," Economics Working Paper Archive 602, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  3. repec:fip:fedreq:y:2011:i:3q:p:255-326:n:vol.97no.3 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Christopher D. Carroll, 2012. "Implications of Wealth Heterogeneity For Macroeconomics," Economics Working Paper Archive 597, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  5. Fatih Guvenen, 2011. "Macroeconomics With Heterogeneity: A Practical Guide," NBER Working Papers 17622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Christopher Carroll & Martin Sommer & Jiri Slacalek, 2012. "Dissecting Saving Dynamics," IMF Working Papers 12/219, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Fatih Guvenen & Serdar Ozkan & Jae Song, 2014. "The Nature of Countercyclical Income Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(3), pages 621 - 660.
  8. Fatih Karahan & Serdar Ozkan, 2013. "On the Persistence of Income Shocks over the Life Cycle: Evidence, Theory, and Implications," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 452-476, July.

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