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Interpreting life-cycle inequality patterns as an efficient allocation: mission impossible?

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  • Alejandro Badel
  • Mark Huggett

Abstract

Data on consumption, earnings, wages and hours dispersion over the life cycle is commonly viewed as incompatible with a Pareto efficient allocation. We show that a model with preference and wage shocks and full insurance produces the rise in consumption, wages and hours dispersion over the life cycle found in U.S. data. The efficient allocation model requires an increasing preference shifter dispersion profile to account for an increasing consumption dispersion profile. We examine U.S. data and find support for the view that the dispersion in preference shifters increases with age.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2010-046.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2010-046

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Keywords: Consumption (Economics) ; Econometric models;

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  1. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," NBER Working Papers 13224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 1997. "Consumption and risk sharing over the life cycle," GSIA Working Papers 228, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  3. Mark Hugget & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2002. "Human Capital and Earnings Distribution Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 9366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Orazio Attanasio & Steven J. Davis, 1994. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  9. Bound, John & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
  10. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  11. Pricila Maziero & Laurence Ales, 2008. "Accounting for private information," Working Papers 663, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
  13. Mark Huggett & Juan Carlos Parra, 2010. "How Well Does the U.S. Social Insurance System Provide Social Insurance?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 76-112, 02.
  14. Fatih Guvenen & Anthony Smith, 2013. "Inferring labor income risk and partial insurance from economic choices," Staff Report 485, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. Browning, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter & Heckman, James J., 1999. "Micro data and general equilibrium models," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 543-633 Elsevier.
  16. 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.
  17. Greg Kaplan, 2007. "Inequality and the Lifecycle," 2007 Meeting Papers 262, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  18. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2001. "How Important Are Idiosyncratic Shocks? Evidence from Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 413-417, May.
  19. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2007. "Insurance and Opportunities: A Welfare Analysis of Labor Market Risk," NBER Working Papers 13673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
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  22. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L, 2004. "The Cross-Sectional Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 4296, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gang Sun, . "Consumption Inequality and Discount Rate Heterogeneity," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201318, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
  2. Gang Sun, . "Complete Markets Strikes Back: Revisiting Risk Sharing Tests under Discount Rate Heterogeneity," CDMA Working Paper Series 201310, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  3. Daniel R. Carroll & Eric R. Young, 2009. "The long run effects of changes in tax progressivity," Working Paper 0913, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  4. repec:fip:fedreq:y:2011:i:3q:p:255-326:n:vol.97no.3 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Laurence Ales & Maziero Pricila, . "Accounting for Private Information," GSIA Working Papers 2010-E58, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  6. Theodoros M. Diasakos, . "Comparative Statics of Asset Prices: the effect of other assets' risk," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201315, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews, revised 08 Jan 2014.
  7. Fatih Guvenen, 2011. "Macroeconomics with hetereogeneity : a practical guide," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 3Q, pages 255-326.

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