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Inequality and the life cycle

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  • Greg Kaplan

Abstract

I structurally estimate an incomplete markets lifecycle model with endogenous labor supply, using data on the joint distribution of wages, hours and consumption. The model is successful at matching the evolution of both the first and second moments of the data over the lifecycle. The key challenge for the model is to generate declining inequality in annual hours worked over the first half of the working life, while respecting the constraints imposed by the data on consumption and wages. I argue that this is a robust feature of the data on lifecycle labor supply that is strongly at odds with the intra-temporal first order condition for labor supply. Allowing for a realistic degree of involuntary unemployment, coupled with preferences that feature nonseparability in the disutility of the extensive and intensive margins of hours worked, allows the model to overcome this challenge. The results imply that labor market frictions are important in jointly accounting for observed cross-sectional inequality in labor supply and consumption and may have quantitative relevance for analyses that exploit the intra-temporal first-order condition for labor.
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Suggested Citation

  • Greg Kaplan, 2012. "Inequality and the life cycle," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(3), pages 471-525, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:quante:v:3:y:2012:i:3:p:471-525
    DOI: QE200
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    Cited by:

    1. Jose Mustre-del-Rio, 2015. "Wealth and Labor Supply Heterogeneity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 619-634, July.
    2. Gianluca Violante & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Education Decisions, Equilibrium Policies and Wages Dispersion," 2005 Meeting Papers 522, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Mark Huggett (Georgetown University) and Juan Carlos Parra (Georgetown University), 2005. "Quantifying the Inefficiency of the US Social Insurance System," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-16, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:fip:fedreq:y:2011:i:3q:p:255-326:n:vol.97no.3 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Blundell, Richard & Graber, Michael & Mogstad, Magne, 2015. "Labor income dynamics and the insurance from taxes, transfers, and the family," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 58-73.
    6. Mark Huggett & Juan Carlos Parra, 2010. "How Well Does the U.S. Social Insurance System Provide Social Insurance?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 76-112, February.
    7. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
    8. Arslan, Yavuz & Taskin, Temel, 2011. "Price search, consumption inequality, and expenditure inequality over the life cycle," MPRA Paper 34874, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Greg Kaplan & Guido Menzio & Leena Rudanko & Nicholas Trachter, 2016. "Relative Price Dispersion: Evidence and Theory," NBER Working Papers 21931, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Ofer Setty: Tel Aviv University, 2011. "Unemployment Accounts," 2011 Meeting Papers 204, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Rong Hai, 2013. "The Determinants of Rising Inequality in Health Insurance and Wages: An Equilibrium Model of Workers' Compensation and Health Care Policies," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-019, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    12. Pedro Cavalcanti Ferreira & Marcelo Rodrigues dos Santos, 2013. "The Effect of Social Security, Health, Demography and Technology on Retirement," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(2), pages 350-370, April.
    13. Alejandro Badel & Mark Huggett, 2014. "Interpreting Life Cycle Inequality Patterns as an Efficient Allocation: Mission Impossible?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 613-629, October.
    14. Svetlana Pashchenko & Ponpoje (Poe) Porapakkarm & Mariacristina De Nardi, 2017. "The Lifetime Costs of Bad Health," 2017 Meeting Papers 533, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. Hanming Fang & Naoki Aizawa, 2012. "Equilibrium Labor Market Search and Health Insurance Reform," 2012 Meeting Papers 959, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    16. Brant Abbott & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir & Giovanni L. Violante, 2013. "Education Policy and Intergenerational Transfers in Equilibrium," Working Paper series 15_13, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    17. Bick, Alexander & Choi, Sekyu, 2013. "Revisiting the effect of household size on consumption over the life-cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2998-3011.
    18. Richard Blundell & Ben Etheridge, 2010. "Consumption, Income and Earnings Inequality in Britain," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 76-102, January.
    19. Lopez-Daneri, Martin, 2016. "NIT picking: The macroeconomic effects of a Negative Income Tax," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 1-16.
    20. Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Gueorgui Kambourov, 2016. "Towards a Micro-Founded Theory of Aggregate Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 1001-1039.
    21. Monisankar Bishnu & Nick L. Guo & Cagri S Kumru, 2017. "Social Security: Progressive Benefits but Regressive Outcome?," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2017-656, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    22. Cagri S. Kumru & John Piggott & Athanasios C. Thanopoulos, 2015. "A Note on Resource Testing and Temptation," Working Papers wp340, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    23. Fatih Karahan & Serdar Ozkan, 2013. "On the Persistence of Income Shocks over the Life Cycle: Evidence, Theory, and Implications," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 452-476, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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