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Unemployment and portfolio choice: Does persistence matter?


  • Bremus, Franziska M.
  • Kuzin, Vladimir


Households can rely on private savings or on public unemployment insurance to hedge against the risk of becoming unemployed. These hedging mechanisms are used differently across countries. In this paper, we use a life cycle model to study the effects of unemployment on the portfolio choice of households in the US and in Germany. We distinguish short- and long-term unemployment and find that, in case of short-term unemployment, unemployment insurance offsets the negative impact of unemployment risk on households’ equity holdings. When incorporating long-term unemployment, the US-equity share drops. This negative effect of unemployment is mainly driven by its high expected duration. In Germany, however, long-term unemployment does not significantly alter portfolio decisions. We show that different responses of portfolios to unemployment risk can be attributed to both differences in social security payments and different age-income profiles.

Suggested Citation

  • Bremus, Franziska M. & Kuzin, Vladimir, 2014. "Unemployment and portfolio choice: Does persistence matter?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 99-113.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:40:y:2014:i:c:p:99-113 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2014.02.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fabio C. Bagliano & Carolina Fugazza & Giovanna Nicodano, 2017. "A Life-Cycle Model with Unemployment Traps," Working papers 041, Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino.
    2. Philip Müller, 2016. "Poverty in Europe: Sociodemographics, Portfolios and Consumption of Wealth Poor Households," LWS Working papers 22, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

    More about this item


    Long-term unemployment; Social security; Portfolio choice;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household


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