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Decomposing changes in income risk using consumption data

  • Richard Blundell
  • Hamish Low
  • Ian Preston

This paper concerns the decomposition of income risk into permanent and transitory components using repeated cross-section data on income and consumption. Our focus is on the detection of changes in the magnitudes of variances of permanent and transitory risks. A new approximation to the optimal consumption growth rule is developed. Evidence from a dynamic stochastic simulation is used to show that this approximation can provide a robust method for decomposing income risk in a nonstationary environment. We examine robustness to unobserved heterogeneity in consumption growth and to unobserved heterogeneity in income growth. We use this approach to investigate the growth in income inequality in the UK in the 1980s.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.3982/QE44
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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Quantitative Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 1-37

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:quante:v:4:y:2013:i:1:p:1-37
DOI: QE44
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  1. Hamish Low & Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2008. "Wage risk and employment risk over the life cycle," IFS Working Papers W08/06, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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  4. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris & Yaron, Amir, 2002. "Consumption and Risk Sharing Over the Life Cycle," Seminar Papers 702, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
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  9. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1995. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1121-57, December.
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  11. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1308-1320, September.
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  23. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality and Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640.
  24. Fatih Guvenen, 2004. "Learning your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really That Persistent?," 2004 Meeting Papers 177, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  26. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
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  29. 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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