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Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy

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  • Tom Krebs
  • Moritz Kuhn
  • Mark L. J. Wright

Abstract

We use microdata to show that young households with children are underinsured against the risk that an adult member of the household dies. This empirical finding can be explained by a macroeconomic model with human capital risk, age-dependent returns to human capital investment, and endogenous borrowing constraints due to limited contract enforcement. When calibrated, the model quantitatively accounts for the observed life-cycle variation in life insurance holdings, financial wealth, earnings, and consumption inequality. The model also predicts that reforms making consumer bankruptcy more costly will substantially increase the volume of both credit and insurance. (JEL D14, D91, G22, J13, J24)

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Krebs & Moritz Kuhn & Mark L. J. Wright, 2015. "Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(11), pages 3223-3272, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:11:p:3223-72
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20111681
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Krueger, D. & Mitman, K. & Perri, F., 2016. "Macroeconomics and Household Heterogeneity," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    2. Sebastian Koehne & Moritz Kuhn, 2015. "Should unemployment insurance be asset-tested?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 575-592, July.
    3. repec:red:ecodyn:v:18:y:2017:i:1:agenda is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_237 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Mark Huggett & Greg Kaplan, 2016. "How Large is the Stock Component of Human Capital?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 22, pages 21-51, October.
    6. Krebs, Tom & Kuhn, Moritz & Wright, Mark L. J., 2016. "Insurance in Human Capital Models with Limited Enforcement," IZA Discussion Papers 9948, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Krebs, Tom & Scheffel, Martin, 2016. "Quantifizierung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Effekte ausgewählter Reformvorschläge der Studie "Reforms, Investment and Growth: An Agenda for France, Germany and Europe"," Working Papers 16-04, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    8. Rampini, Adriano A. & Viswanathan, S., 2018. "Financing Insurance," CEPR Discussion Papers 12855, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Tom Krebs & Moritz Kuhn & Mark Wright, 2017. "Under-Insurance in Human Capital Models with Limited Enforcement," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 25, pages 121-150, April.
    10. Fang, H., 2016. "Insurance Markets for the Elderly," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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