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Job Displacement Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles

  • Tom Krebs

This paper analyzes the welfare costs of business cycles when workers face uninsurable job displacement risk. The paper uses a simple macroeconomic model with incomplete markets to show that cyclical variations in the long-term earnings losses of displaced workers can generate arbitrarily large cost of business cycles even if the variance of individual income changes is constant over the cycle. In addition to the theoretical analysis, this paper conducts a quantitative study of the cost of business cycles using empirical evidence on the long-term earnings losses of US workers. The quantitative analysis shows that realistic variations in job displacement risk generate sizable costs of business cycles, even though a second-moment analysis would suggest negligible costs. (JEL E21, E24, E32, J63)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.97.3.664
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 97 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 664-686

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:97:y:2007:i:3:p:664-686
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.3.664
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  1. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1995. "The Nature of Precautionary Wealth," NBER Working Papers 5193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
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  4. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings losses of displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Alvarez, Fernando & Jermann, Urban J., 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Working Papers 00-1, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
  6. Alon Brav & George M. Constantinides & Christopher C. Geczy, 2002. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers and Limited Participation: Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Joao Gomes & Jeremy Greenwood & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2001. "Equilibrium Unemployment," RCER Working Papers 479, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Andrew Atkeson & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "Reconsidering the Costs of Business Cycles with Incomplete Markets," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 187-218 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-88, August.
  10. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Specificity Of Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 63-115, 02.
  11. Gadi Barlevy, 2003. "The Cost of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 9970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-83, December.
  13. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2000. "The Welfare Cost of Business Cycles Revisited: Finite Lives and Cyclical Variation in Idiosyncratic Risk," NBER Working Papers 8040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Human Capital Risk And Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 709-744, May.
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  16. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  17. Beaudry, Paul & Pages, Carmen, 2001. "The cost of business cycles and the stabilization value of unemployment insurance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1545-1572, August.
  18. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  19. Rogerson, Richard & Schindler, Martin, 2002. "The welfare costs of worker displacement," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1213-1234, September.
  20. Attanasio, Orazio P., 1999. "Consumption," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 741-812 Elsevier.
  21. Christopher D. Carroll, 1996. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 5788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Growth and Welfare Effects of Business Cycles in Economies with Idiosyncratic Human Capital Risk," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 846-868, October.
  23. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, June.
  24. Krebs, Tom, 2004. "Testable implications of consumption-based asset pricing models with incomplete markets," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 191-206, February.
  25. 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.
  26. Tom Krebs, 2000. "Consumption-Based Asset Pricing with Incomplete Markets," Working Papers 2000-10, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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