Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Unemployment risk and precautionary wealth: evidence from households' balance sheets

Contents:

Author Info

  • Christopher D. Carroll
  • Karen E. Dynan
  • Spencer D. Krane

Abstract

Recent empirical work on the strength of precautionary saving has yielded widely varying conclusions. The mixed findings may reflect a number of difficulties in proxying uncertainty, executing instrumental variables estimation, and incorporating theoretical restrictions into empirical models. For each of these problems, this paper uses existing best-practice techniques and some new strategies to relate unemployment probabilities from the Current Population Survey to net worth data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. We find that increases in unemployment risk do not boost saving by households with relatively low permanent income, but that a statistically significant precautionary effect emerges for households at a moderate level of income. This finding is robust to certain restrictions on the sample, but not robust across measures of wealth: We generally find a significant precautionary motive in broad measures of wealth that include home equity, but not in narrower subaggregates comprised only of financial assets and liabilities.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1999/199915/199915abs.html
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1999/199915/199915pap.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 1999-15.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1999-15

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20551
Web page: http://www.federalreserve.gov/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Web: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/fedsorder.html

Related research

Keywords: Consumer behavior ; Saving and investment ; Unemployment;

Other versions of this item:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
  2. Caballero, R.J., 1988. "Consumption Puzzles And Precautionary Savings," Discussion Papers 1988_05, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Lusardi, Annamaria, 1997. "Precautionary saving and subjective earnings variance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 319-326, December.
  8. Diamond, P. A. & Hausman, J. A., 1984. "Individual retirement and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 81-114.
  9. Richard T. Curtin & Thomas Juster & James N. Morgan, 1989. "Survey Estimates of Wealth: An Assessment of Quality," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth, pages 473-552 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Eric M. Engen & Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "Unemployment Insurance and Precautionary Saving," NBER Working Papers 5252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  12. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings uncertainty and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 307-337, November.
  14. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-99, April.
  15. Dynan, Karen E, 1993. "How Prudent Are Consumers?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1104-13, December.
  16. Christopher D Carroll & Wendy E Dunn, 1997. "Unemployment Expectations Jumping (Ss) Triggers and Household Balance Sheets," Economics Working Paper Archive 386, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  17. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2004. "Do the Rich Save More?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 397-444, April.
  18. Carroll, Christopher D, 1994. "How Does Future Income Affect Current Consumption?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 111-47, February.
  19. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1990. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment: An Application of Instrumental Variables with Moments from Two Samples," Working Papers 654, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  20. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1993. "How important is precautionary saving?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 145, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. Carroll, Christopher D & Rhee, Byung-Kun & Rhee, Changyong, 1994. "Are There Cultural Effects on Saving? Some Cross-Sectional Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 685-99, August.
  22. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, May.
  23. Kuehlwein, Michael, 1991. "A test for the presence of precautionary saving," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 471-475, December.
  24. Starr-McCluer, Martha, 1996. "Health Insurance and Precautionary Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 285-95, March.
  25. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Optimal Consumption with Stochastic Income: Deviations from Certainty Equivalence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 275-98, May.
  26. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Mervyn A. King & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1982. "Asset Holdings and the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 0614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Karen E. Dynan, 1993. "How prudent are consumers?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 135, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  30. King, M A & Dicks-Mireaux, L-D L, 1982. "Asset Holdings and the Life-Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 247-67, June.
  31. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
  32. Wendy E. Dunn, 1998. "Unemployment risk, precautionary saving, and durable goods purchase decisions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  33. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
  34. Pagan, Adrian, 1984. "Econometric Issues in the Analysis of Regressions with Generated Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 221-47, February.
  35. Michel Normandin, 1992. "Precautionary Saving: An Explanation for Excess Sensitivity of Consumption," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 3, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  36. William J. Carrington, 1993. "Wage Losses for Displaced Workers: Is It Really the Firm That Matters?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(3), pages 435-462.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1999-15. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kris Vajs).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.