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Intra-Household Risk Sharing and Job Search over the Business Cycle

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  • Haomin Wang

    (University of Konstanz)

Abstract

This paper studies the extent to which working couples can insure one another against cyclical fluctuations in the labor market and examines the implications of joint household decision-making for cyclical fluctuations in the unemployment rate. For this purpose, I provide a dynamic life-cycle model of households that make joint savings and job search decisions in the presence of aggregate shocks. I show that two key mechanisms are at play. The first is the added-worker effect, which leads to counter-cyclical search intensity because workers increase search intensity when their spouse becomes unemployed. The second is the comparative advantage effect, according to which couples' job search efforts are coordinated based on the relative returns to search of each spouse. I estimate the model using data from the US Current Population Survey, and find that joint household decision-making contributes to the counter-cyclicality of women’s unemployment rate, but not for men. Moreover, joint household decision-making lowers the welfare costs of cyclicality. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Haomin Wang, 2019. "Intra-Household Risk Sharing and Job Search over the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 34, pages 165-182, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:18-240
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2019.03.008
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    Cited by:

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    3. Titan Alon & Sena Coskun & Matthias Doepke & David Koll & Michèle Tertilt, 2022. "From Mancession to Shecession: Women’s Employment in Regular and Pandemic Recessions," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 83-151.
    4. Titan Alon & Matthias Doepke & Jane Olmstead-Rumsey, 2020. "This Time It's Different: The Role of Women's Employment in a Pandemic Recession," Working Papers 2020-057, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    5. Nezih Guner & Yuliya Kulikova & Arnau Valladares-Esteban, 2020. "Does the Added Worker Effect Matter?," Working Papers wp2020_2001, CEMFI.
    6. Bloemen, Hans, 2021. "Labor Market Transitions of Members of Opposite-Sex Couples: Nonparticipation, Unemployed Search, and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 14673, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Kathrin Ellieroth, 2019. "Spousal Insurance, Precautionary Labor Supply, and the Business Cycle - A Quantitative Analysis," 2019 Meeting Papers 1134, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Hanming Fang & Andrew J. Shephard, 2019. "Household Labor Search, Spousal Insurance, and Health Care Reform," NBER Working Papers 26350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Anna Doś & Monika Wieczorek-Kosmala & Joanna Błach, 2022. "The Effect of Business Legal Form on the Perception of COVID-19-Related Disruptions by Households Running a Business," Risks, MDPI, vol. 10(4), pages 1-17, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Joint Decision-Making; Cyclical Fluctuations; Unemployment Rate; Search Intensity; Intra-Household Risk Sharing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General

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