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The great moderation in micro labor earnings

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Author Info

  • 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

Related research

Keywords: Labor earnings Earnings volatility Great moderation;

References

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  1. Erik Hurst & Mark Aguiar, 2008. "Deconstructing Lifecycle Expenditure," 2008 Meeting Papers 771, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Fatih Guvenen, 2009. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 58-79, January.
  3. repec:att:wimass:9722 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Low, Hamish & Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2008. "Wage Risk and Employment Risk over the Life Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 3700, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-67, June.
  6. 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.
  7. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Parker, Jonathan A, 2000. "Consumption Over the Life-Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 2345, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1995. "The Nature of Precautionary Wealth," NBER Working Papers 5193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
  11. Joseph Altonji & Anthony Smith & Ivan Vidangos, 2009. "Modeling earnings dynamics," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-08, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Sabelhaus, John & Song, Jae, 2009. "Earnings Volatility Across Groups and Time," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 62(2), pages 347-64, June.
  13. Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "The Changing Nature of Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 13523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
  15. 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.
  16. Dynan Karen & Elmendorf Douglas & Sichel Daniel, 2012. "The Evolution of Household Income Volatility," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 1-42, December.
  17. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James & Navarro, Salvador, 2004. "Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings," Working Paper Series 2005:6, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  18. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2008. "Deconstructing Lifecycle Expenditure," NBER Working Papers 13893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 2009. "The Rising Instability of U.S. Earnings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 3-24, Fall.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Carroll, Christopher & Slacalek, Jiri & Sommer, Martin, 2012. "Dissecting saving dynamics: measuring wealth, precautionary and credit effects," Working Paper Series 1474, European Central Bank.
  2. 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.
  3. Fatih Guvenen & Serdar Ozkan & Jae Song, 2012. "The Nature of Countercyclical Income Risk," NBER Working Papers 18035, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Christopher Carroll & Martin Sommer & Jiri Slacalek, 2012. "Dissecting Saving Dynamics," IMF Working Papers 12/219, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Fatih Guvenen, 2011. "Macroeconomics With Heterogeneity: A Practical Guide," NBER Working Papers 17622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Christopher D. Carroll, 2012. "Implications of Wealth Heterogeneity For Macroeconomics," Economics Working Paper Archive 597, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  7. repec:fip:fedreq:y:2011:i:3q:p:255-326:n:vol.97no.3 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. 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.

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