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Interpreting Life-Cycle Inequality Patterns asan Efficient Allocation: Mission Impossible?

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Abstract

Data on consumption, earnings, wages and hours dispersion over the life cycle has been viewed as being at odds with an efficient allocation. We challenge this view. We show that a model with preference and wage shocks and full insurance produces the type of inequality patterns across age groups 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. Classification-JEL Codes: E21, D91, D52

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~07-07-03.

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Date of creation: 03 Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~07-07-03

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Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Phone: 202-687-6074
Fax: 202-687-6102
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Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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Postal: Marcia Suss Administrative Officer Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Web: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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Keywords: Life Cycle Inequality; Efficient Allocation; Preference Shocks;

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References

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  1. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2010. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," Working Papers 2011-020, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  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. 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.
  4. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C., 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Papers 168, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  5. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris & Yaron, Amir, 2002. "Consumption and Risk Sharing Over the Life Cycle," Seminar Papers 702, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Fatih Guvenen, 2006. "Learning your earning: are labor income shocks really very persistent?," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 145, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. 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.
  11. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio & Violante, Giovanni L, 2009. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States, 1967-2006," CEPR Discussion Papers 7538, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Laurence Ales & Pricila Maziero, 2007. "Accounting for private information," 2007 Meeting Papers 804, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Huggett, Mark & Ventura, Gustavo & Yaron, Amir, 2006. "Human capital and earnings distribution dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 265-290, March.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Orazio Attanasio & Steven J. Davis, 1994. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  19. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  20. Greg Kaplan, 2007. "Inequality and the Lifecycle," 2007 Meeting Papers 262, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. Bound, John, et al, 1994. "Evidence on the Validity of Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Labor Market Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 345-68, July.
  22. Fatih Guvenen & Anthony Smith, 2013. "Inferring labor income risk and partial insurance from economic choices," Staff Report 485, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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Cited by:
  1. Gang Sun, 2012. "Complete Markets Strikes Back: Revisiting Risk Sharing Tests under Discount Rate Heterogeneity," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201317, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews, revised 26 Feb 2013.
  2. Laurence Ales & Maziero Pricila, . "Accounting for Private Information," GSIA Working Papers 2010-E58, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  3. Gang Sun, . "Consumption Inequality and Discount Rate Heterogeneity," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201318, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
  4. 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.
  5. Fatih Guvenen, 2011. "Macroeconomics with hetereogeneity : a practical guide," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 3Q, pages 255-326.
  6. Carroll, Daniel R. & Young, Eric R., 2011. "The long run effects of changes in tax progressivity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1451-1473, September.
  7. repec:fip:fedreq:y:2011:i:3q:p:255-326:n:vol.97no.3 is not listed on IDEAS

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