IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Wage Risk and Employment Risk over the Life Cycle

  • Hamish Low
  • Costas Meghir
  • Luigi Pistaferri

We specify a life-cycle model of consumption, labor supply and job mobility in an economy with search frictions. We distinguish different sources of risk, including shocks to productivity, job arrival, and job destruction. Allowing for job mobility has a large effect on the estimate of productivity risk. Increases in the latter impose a considerable welfare loss. Increases in employment risk have large effects on output and, primarily through this channel, affect welfare. The welfare value of programs such as Food Stamps, partially insuring productivity risk, is greater than the value of unemployment insurance which provides (partial) insurance against employment risk. (JEL D91, J22, J31, J61, J64, J65)

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:
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 1432-67

in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:4:p:1432-67
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.4.1432
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

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. 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.
  2. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 2001. "The welfare cost of business cycles revisited: Finite lives and cyclical variation in idiosyncratic risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1311-1339.
  3. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  4. Eric French, 2000. "The effects of health, wealth, and wages on labor supply and retirement behavior," Working Paper Series WP-00-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 178, Stockholm School of Economics.
  6. repec:oup:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:4:p:1007-47 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1995. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1121-57, December.
  8. Fatih Guvenen & Anthony Smith, 2010. "Inferring labor income risk from economic choices: an indirect inference approach," Staff Report 450, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Luigi Pistaferri, 2001. "Superior Information, Income Shocks, And The Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 465-476, August.
  10. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-67, June.
  11. Gourinchas, P.O. & Parker, J.A., 1997. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Working papers 9722, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  12. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1995. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," Cahiers de recherche 9503, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  13. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2005. "Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 191-261, April.
  14. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/dc0ckec3fcb, Sciences Po.
  15. Attanasio, Orazio & Davis, Steven J, 1996. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1227-62, December.
  16. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Agar Brugiavini, 1999. "Risk pooling, precautionary saving and consumption growth," IFS Working Papers W99/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  17. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," NBER Working Papers 13394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Moffitt, Robert, 1989. "Estimating the Value of an In-Kind Transfer: The Case of Food Stamps," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 385-409, March.
  19. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  20. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
  21. Silvio Rendón, 2002. "Job Search And Asset Accumulation Under Borrowing Constraints," Economics Working Papers we025219, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  22. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2001. "Income variance dynamics and heterogenity," IFS Working Papers W01/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  23. repec:oup:restud:v:68:y:2001:i:4:p:757-79 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Hansen, Gary D & Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 118-42, February.
  25. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-76, February.
  26. Jeremy Lise & Costas Meghir & Jean-Marc Robin, 2013. "Matching, Sorting and Wages," Sciences Po publications 11, Sciences Po.
  27. Thomas MaCurdy & David Green & Harry Paarsch, 1990. "Assessing Empirical Approaches for Analyzing Taxes and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 415-490.
  28. Angus Deaton, 1989. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 3196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," NBER Working Papers 11943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
  31. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, 1999. "Unemployment Insurance Benefit Levels and Consumption Changes," CEPR Discussion Papers 405, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  32. John Bound & Julie Berry Cullen & Austin Nichols & Lucie Schmidt, 2002. "The Welfare Implications of Increasing Disability Insurance Benefit Generosity," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-02, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  33. Hamish Low & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "Disability Risk, Disability Insurance and Life Cycle Behavior," NBER Working Papers 15962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Costas Meghir & David Phillips, 2008. "Labour supply and taxes," IFS Working Papers W08/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  35. Hamish Low, 2005. "Self-Insurance in a Life-Cycle Model of Labor Supply and Savings," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(4), pages 945-975, October.
  36. Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Anticipated and Unanticipated Wage Changes, Wage Risk, and Intertemporal Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 3628, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  37. repec:oup:qjecon:v:104:y:1989:i:2:p:275-98 is not listed on IDEAS
  38. repec:oup:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:2:p:439-79 is not listed on IDEAS
  39. John Pencavel, 2002. "A Cohort Analysis of the Association between Work Hours and Wages among Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 251-274.
  40. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 92-11, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  41. repec:oup:restud:v:61:y:1994:i:1:p:57-80 is not listed on IDEAS
  42. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 1997. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority? A Reassessment," NBER Working Papers 6010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  43. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Richard Rogerson & Aysegul Sahin, 2008. "Aggregate Implications of Indivisible Labor, Incomplete Markets, and Labor Market Frictions," NBER Working Papers 13871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. Christopher J. Flinn & James J. Heckman, 1982. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," NBER Working Papers 0979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  45. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Consumption and labor supply with partial insurance: an analytical framework," Staff Report 432, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  46. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 3-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  47. Rasmus Lentz & Torben Tranas, 2005. "Job Search and Savings: Wealth Effects and Duration Dependence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 467-490, July.
  48. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  49. Fatih Guvenen, 2005. "Learning Your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really Very Persistent?," Macroeconomics 0507004, EconWPA.
  50. Orazio Attanasio & James Banks & Costas Meghir & Guglielmo Weber, 1995. "Humps and bumps in lifetime consumption," IFS Working Papers W95/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  51. Domeij, David & Floden, Martin, 2001. "The labor-supply elasticity and borrowing constraints: Why estimates are biased," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 480, Stockholm School of Economics.
  52. repec:inr:wpaper:155908 is not listed on IDEAS
  53. Rasmus Lentz, 2003. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in an Estimated Job Search Model with Savings," CAM Working Papers 2004-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  54. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  55. Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2003. "Precautionary Savings Or Working Longer Hours?," Working Papers wp2003_0311, CEMFI.
  56. Bruce Meyer, 2002. "Unemployment and workers' compensation programmes: rationale, design, labour supply and income support ," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 1-49, March.
  57. repec:oup:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:2:p:603-640 is not listed on IDEAS
  58. 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.
  59. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  60. John Abowd & Martha Stinson, 2011. "Estimating Measurement Error in SIPP Annual Job Earnings: A Comparison of Census Bureau Survey and SSA Administrative Data," Working Papers 11-20, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  61. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-75, April.
  62. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1991. "Earnings Uncertainty and Aggregate Wealth Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 859-71, September.
  63. Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  64. R. Moffitt & P. Gottschalk, . "Trends in the covariance structure of earnings in the United States: 1969-1987," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1001-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  65. James Costain, 1997. "Unemployment insurance with endogenous search intensity and precautionary saving," Economics Working Papers 243, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  66. repec:oup:restud:v:49:y:1982:i:3:p:315-33 is not listed on IDEAS
  67. Rogerson, Richard & Schindler, Martin, 2002. "The welfare costs of worker displacement," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1213-1234, September.
  68. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1993. "Long-term earnings losses of high-seniority displaced workers," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 2-20.
  69. Brown, James N & Light, Audrey, 1992. "Interpreting Panel Data on Job Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 219-57, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Wage Risk and Employment Risk over the Life Cycle (AER 2010) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:4:p:1432-67. 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: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.