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Recent Trends in Earnings Volatility: Evidence from Survey and Administrative Data

  • Celik Sule

    ()

    (San Francisco State University)

  • Juhn Chinhui

    ()

    (University of Houston and NBER)

  • McCue Kristin

    ()

    (U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Thompson Jesse

    ()

    (Houston Branch, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)

Recent papers find that earnings volatility is again on the rise (Dynan et al. 2008, and Shin and Solon 2011). Using household survey data—the matched Current Population Surveys and Survey of Income and Program Participation—and the newly available Longitudinal Employment and Household Dynamics administrative dataset, we find that earnings volatility was remarkably stable in the 1990s and through the mid 2000s. This evidence is in contrast to that from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) which registers a sharp increase in the early 2000s. We investigate whether adjusting measures based on our sources to more closely match the characteristics of the PSID can reconcile this divergence in trends, but do not find a clear explanation for the divergence. We also find little evidence of a rise over this period in the components of volatility: volatility among job leavers, volatility among job stayers, and the fraction of workers who are job leavers.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 12 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 1-26

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:12:y:2012:i:2:n:1
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  1. Bound, John & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
  2. Jaeger, David A & Stevens, Ann Huff, 1999. "Is Job Stability in the United States Falling? Reconciling Trends in the Current Population Survey and Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages S1-28, October.
  3. Brigitte C. Madrian & Lars John Lefgren, 1999. "A Note on Longitudinally Matching Current Population Survey (CPS) Respondents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Michael Baker & Gary Solon, 1998. "Earnings Dynamics and Inequality among Canadian Men, 1976-1992: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Records," Working Papers baker-98-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  5. Robert Shimer, 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 127-148, April.
  6. Steven J. Davis, 2008. "The Decline of Job Loss and Why It Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 263-67, May.
  7. David Neumark & Daniel Polsky & Daniel Hansen, 1997. "Has Job Stability Declined Yet? New Evidence for the 1990's," NBER Working Papers 6330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Steven J. Davis & James A. Kahn, 2008. "Interpreting the Great Moderation: Changes in the Volatility of Economic Activity at the Macro and Micro Levels," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 155-80, Fall.
  9. Peracchi, Franco & Welch, Finis, 1995. "How representative are matched cross-sections? Evidence from the Current Population Survey," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 153-179, July.
  10. Robert A. Moffitt & Peter Gottschalk, 2002. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Earnings in the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C68-C73, March.
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