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The Value and Risk of Human Capital

Author

Listed:
  • Luca Benzon

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60604)

  • Olena Chyruk

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60604)

Abstract

Human capital embodies the knowledge, skills, health, and values that contribute to making people productive. These qualities, however, are hard to measure, and quantitative studies of human capital are typically based on the valuation of the lifetime income that a person generates in the labor market. This article surveys the theoretical and empirical literature that models a worker's life-cycle earnings and identifies appropriate discount rates to translate those cash flows into a certainty equivalent of wealth. We begin with an overview of a stylized model of human capital valuation with exogenous labor income. We then discuss extensions to this framework that study the underlying economic sources of labor income shocks, the choices that people make during their lives (such as about work, leisure, retirement, and investment in education), and the implications of these factors for human capital valuation and risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Benzon & Olena Chyruk, 2015. "The Value and Risk of Human Capital," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 179-200, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:refeco:v:7:y:2015:p:179-200
    DOI: 10.1146/annurev-financial-110613-034406
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    2. Silvia Angerer & Jana Bolvashenkova & Daniela Glätzle-Rützler & Philipp Lergetporer & Matthias Sutter, 2021. "Children's Patience and School-Track Choices Several Years Later: Linking Experimental and Field Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 9110, CESifo.
    3. Borys Grochulski & Yuzhe Zhang, 2019. "Wealth Effects with Endogenous Retirement," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 3Q, pages 173-200.
    4. Hanushek, Eric A. & Kinne, Lavinia & Lergetporer, Philipp & Woessmann, Ludger, 2020. "Culture and Student Achievement: The Intertwined Roles of Patience and Risk-Taking," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 249, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    5. Etienne Dagorn & David Masclet & Thierry Penard, 2022. "The Behavioral Determinants of School Achievement: A Lab in the Field Experiment in Middle School," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 2022-05, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    6. Silvia Angerer & Jana Bolvashenkova & Daniela Glätzle-Rützler & Philipp Lergetporer & Matthias Sutter, 2021. "Children’s patience and school-track choices several years later: Linking experimental and field data," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2021_12, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    7. A.V. Sultanova & O.S. Chechina, 2016. "Human Capital as a Key Factor of Economic Growth in Crisis," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(2), pages 71-78.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    aggregate versus idiosyncratic shocks; human capital; human capital investment; labor income risk; life-cycle earnings;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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