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Job Displacement Insurance and (the Lack of) Consumption-Smoothing

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  • François Gerard
  • Joana Naritomi

Abstract

We study the spending profile of workers who experience both a positive transitory income shock (lump-sum severance pay) and a negative permanent income shock (layoff ). Using de-identified expenditure and employment data from Brazil, we show that workers increase spending at layoff by 35 percent despite experiencing a 14 percent long-term loss. We find high sensitivity of spending to cash-on-hand across consumption categories and for several sources of variation, including predictable income drops. A model with present-biased workers can rationalize our findings, and highlights the importance of the timing of benefit disbursement for the consumption-smoothing gains of job displacement insurance policies.

Suggested Citation

  • François Gerard & Joana Naritomi, 2021. "Job Displacement Insurance and (the Lack of) Consumption-Smoothing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(3), pages 899-942, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:111:y:2021:i:3:p:899-942
    DOI: 10.1257/aer.20190388
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • G51 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance - - - Household Savings, Borrowing, Debt, and Wealth
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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