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Uninsurable individual risk and the cyclical behavior of unemployment and vacancies

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  • Enchuan Shao
  • Pedro Silos

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the business cycle dynamics in search-and-matching models of the labor market when agents are ex post heterogeneous. We focus on wealth heterogeneity that comes as a result of imperfect opportunities to insure against idiosyncratic risk. We show that this heterogeneity implies wage rigidity relative to a complete insurance economy. The fraction of wealth-poor agents prevents real wages from falling too much in recessions since small decreases in income imply large losses in utility. Analogously, wages rise less in expansions compared with the standard model because small increases are enough for poor workers to accept job offers. This mechanism reduces the volatility of wages and increases the volatility of vacancies and unemployment. This channel can be relevant if the lack of insurance is large enough so that the fraction of agents close to the borrowing constraint is significant. However, discipline in the parameterization implies an earnings variance and persistence in the unemployment state that result in a large degree of self-insurance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2007-05.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2007-05

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  1. Joao Gomes & Jeremy Greenwood & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2001. "Equilibrium Unemployment," RCER Working Papers 479, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  2. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1998. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 6686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," GSIA Working Papers 1997-37, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  5. Andolfatto, David, 1996. "Business Cycles and Labor-Market Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 112-32, March.
  6. Rudanko, Leena, 2009. "Labor market dynamics under long-term wage contracting," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 170-183, March.
  7. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
  8. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Mark Bils & Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2009. "Comparative Advantage and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 15030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Tamas Papp & Alisdair McKay, 2012. "Accounting for idiosyncratic wage risk over the business cycle," 2012 Meeting Papers 820, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Makoto Nakajima, 2010. "Business cycles in the equilibrium model of labor market search and self-insurance," Working Papers 10-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Leena Rudanko, 2008. "Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Risk in a Frictional Labor Market," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series wp2008-009, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  5. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin, 2009. "Labor-Market Matching with Precautionary Savings and Aggregate Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 15282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mark Bils & Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2011. "Worker Heterogeneity and Endogenous Separations in a Matching Model of Unemployment Fluctuations," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 128-54, January.
  7. Emine Boz & Ceyhun Bora Durdu & Nan Li, 2009. "Labor market search in emerging economies," International Finance Discussion Papers 989, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Carlos Miguel Silva & Ana Paula Ribeiro, 2011. "The Impacts of Structural Changes in the Labor Market: a Comparative Statics Analysis Using Heterogeneous-agent Framework," CEF.UP Working Papers 1104, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.

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