Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

On the Persistence of Income Shocks over the Life Cycle: Evidence and Implications

Contents:

Author Info

  • Fatih Karahan

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Serdar Ozkan

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

This paper proposes a novel specification for residual earnings that allows for a lifetime profile in the persistence and variance of labor income shocks. We show theoretically that the statistical model is identified and estimate it using data from the PSID. We strongly reject the hypothesis of a flat life-cycle profile for persistence and variance of persistent shocks, but not for the variance of transitory shocks. Shocks to earnings are only moderately persistent (around 0.75) for young individuals. Persistence rises with age up to unity until midway in life and decreases to around 0.95 toward the end of the life cycle. On the other hand, the variance of persistent shocks exhibits a U-shaped profile over the life cycle (with a minimum of 0.01 and a maximum of 0.045). Our estimate of persistence, for most of the working life, is substantially lower than typical estimates in the literature. We investigate the implications of these profiles for consumption-savings behavior with a standard life-cycle model. Under natural borrowing limits, the welfare cost of idiosyncratic risk implied by the age dependent income process is 32% lower compared to an AR(1) process without age profiles. This is mostly due to a higher degree of consumption insurance for young workers, for whom persistence is moderate. The results hold qualitatively for an economy with no borrowing, although the difference between specifications is smaller (23%). We conclude that the welfare cost of idiosyncratic risk is overstated.

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://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/working-papers/09-045.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 09-045.

as in new window
Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 09 Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:09-045

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: 215-898-9992
Fax: 215-573-2378
Email:
Web page: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/pier
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Idiosyncratic income risk; Incomplete markets models; Earnings persistence; Consumption insurance;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

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

Cited by:
  1. Kartik B. Athreya & Xuan S. Tam & Eric R. Young, 2012. "Debt default and the insurance of labor income risks," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 4Q, pages 255-307.
  2. Fatih Karahan & Serdar Ozkan, 2013. "On the Persistence of Income Shocks over the Life Cycle: Evidence, Theory, and Implications," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 452-476, July.
  3. Yavuz Arslan & Temel Taskin, 2012. "Price Search, Consumption Inequality, and Expenditure Inequality over the Life Cycle," Working Papers 1212, Research and Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey.

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:pen:papers:09-045. 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: (Dolly Guarini).

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.