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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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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. 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.
  2. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2008. "Appendices for "Revisiting the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles"," Technical Appendices 08-211, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  3. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2004. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1223-1256, December.
  4. 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.
  5. Joao Gomes & Jeremy Greenwood & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2001. "Equilibrium Unemployment," RCER Working Papers 479, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  6. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-48, September.
  7. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Alon Brav & George M. Constantinides & Christopher C. Geczy, 1999. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers and Limited Participation: Empirical Evidence," CRSP working papers 505, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  11. 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.
  12. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  13. Gadi Barlevy, 2003. "The Cost of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 9970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Tom Krebs, 2000. "Consumption-Based Asset Pricing with Incomplete Markets," Working Papers 2000-10, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  15. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  16. Carroll, Christopher D, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55, February.
  17. Iourii Manovskii & Gueorgui Kambourov, 2004. "Occupational Specificity of Human Capital," 2004 Meeting Papers 197, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  18. 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.
  19. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, June.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Rogerson, Richard & Schindler, Martin, 2002. "The welfare costs of worker displacement," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1213-1234, September.
  23. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  24. 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.
  25. repec:oup:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:2:p:709-744 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. 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.
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