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Unemployment and Portfolio Choice: Does Persistence Matter?

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  • Franziska M. Bremus

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  • Vladimir Kuzin

Abstract

Households can rely on private savings or on public unemployment insurance to hedge against the risk of becoming unemployed. These hedging mechanisms are used differently across countries. In this paper, we use a life cycle model to study the effects of unemployment on the portfolio choice of households in the US and in Germany. We distinguish short- and long-term unemployment and find that, in case of short-term unemployment, unemployment insurance offsets the negative impact of unemployment risk on households’ equity holdings. When incorporating long-term unemployment, the US-equity share drops. This negative effect of unemployment is mainly driven by its high expected duration. In Germany, however, long-term unemployment does not significantly alter portfolio decisions. We show that different responses of portfolios to unemployment risk can be attributed to both differences in social security payments and different age-income profiles.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW) in its series IAW Discussion Papers with number 77.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iaw:iawdip:77

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Keywords: long-term unemployment; social security; precautionary savings labor market institutions; employment adjustment;

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  1. Carroll, Christopher D., 2006. "The method of endogenous gridpoints for solving dynamic stochastic optimization problems," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 312-320, June.
  2. repec:att:wimass:9722 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Elke Holst & Dean R. Lillard & Thomas A. DiPrete, 2001. "Proceedings of the 2000 Fourth International Conference of German Socio-Economic Panel Study Users (GSOEP 2000): Editorial Introduction," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 70(1), pages 5-6.
  4. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
  5. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
  6. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Douglas H. Joines, 1999. "Social Security in an Overlapping Generations Economy with Land," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 638-665, July.
  7. Joao F. Cocco, 2005. "Consumption and Portfolio Choice over the Life Cycle," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(2), pages 491-533.
  8. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
  9. Luca Benzoni & Pierre Collin-Dufresne & Robert S. Goldstein, 2007. "Portfolio choice over the life-cycle when the stock and labor markets are cointegrated," Working Paper Series WP-07-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Luca Benzoni & Pierre Collin-Dufresne & Robert S. Goldstein, 2007. "Portfolio Choice over the Life-Cycle when the Stock and Labor Markets Are Cointegrated," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(5), pages 2123-2167, October.
  11. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
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