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Multi-Dimensional Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles

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  • Tom Krebs

    (University of Mannheim)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the welfare costs of business cycles when workers face uninsurable idiosyncratic labor income risk. In accordance with the previous literature, this paper decomposes labor income risk into an aggregate and an idiosyncratic component, but in contrast to the previous literature, this paper allows for multiple sources of idiosyncratic labor income risk. Using the multi-dimensional approach to idiosyncratic risk, this paper provides a general characterization of the welfare cost of business cycles when preferences and the (marginal) process of individual labor income in the economy with business cycles are given. The general analysis shows that the introduction of multiple sources of idiosyncratic risk never decreases the cost of business cycles, and strictly increases it if there are cyclical fluctuations across the different sources of risk. This paper also provides a quantitative analysis based on a version of the model that is calibrated to match U.S. labor market data. The quantitative analysis suggests that realistic variations across two particular dimensions of idiosyncratic labor income risk increase the welfare cost of business cycles by a substantial amount. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.red.2006.07.002
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 9 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 640-658

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:05-39

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Related research

Keywords: Cost of business cycles; Labor market risk; Incomplete markets;

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References

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  1. Barlevy, Gadi & Tsiddon, Daniel, 2004. "Earnings Inequality and the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 4451, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  3. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah J, 1996. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 443-87, June.
  4. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Alon Brav & George M. Constantinides & Christopher C. Geczy, 2002. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers and Limited Participation: Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Parker, Jonathan A, 2000. "Consumption Over the Life-Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 2345, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
  8. Beaudry, Paul & Pages, Carmen, 2001. "The cost of business cycles and the stabilization value of unemployment insurance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1545-1572, August.
  9. Gomes, Joao & Greenwood, Jeremy & Rebelo, Sergio, 2001. "Equilibrium unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 109-152, August.
  10. David K. Levine & William Zame, 2001. "Does Market Incompleteness Matter," Levine's Working Paper Archive 78, David K. Levine.
  11. Krebs, Tom, 2004. "Testable implications of consumption-based asset pricing models with incomplete markets," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 191-206, February.
  12. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Human Capital Risk And Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 709-744, May.
  13. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 7978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2000. "The Welfare Cost of Business Cycles Revisited: Finite Lives and Cyclical Variation in Idiosyncratic Risk," NBER Working Papers 8040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings losses of displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  17. Andrew Atkeson & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "Reconsidering the Costs of Business Cycles with Incomplete Markets," NBER Working Papers 4719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1995. "The Nature of Precautionary Wealth," NBER Working Papers 5193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Carroll, Christopher D, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55, February.
  20. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-48, September.
  21. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Growth and Welfare Effects of Business Cycles in Economies with Idiosyncratic Human Capital Risk," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 846-868, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Krusell, Per & Mukoyama, Toshihiko & Sahin, Aysegul, 2009. "Labor-Market Matching with Precautionary Savings and Aggregate Fluctuations," CEPR Discussion Papers 7429, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2008. "Appendices for "Revisiting the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles"," Technical Appendices 08-211, Review of Economic Dynamics.

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