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Male Earnings Volatility in LEHD before, during, and after the Great Recession

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  • Kevin L. McKinney
  • John M. Abowd

Abstract

This paper is part of a coordinated collection of papers on prime-age male earnings volatility. Each paper produces a similar set of statistics for the same reference population using a different primary data source. Our primary data source is the Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) infrastructure files. Using LEHD data from 1998 to 2016, we create a well-defined population frame to facilitate accurate estimation of temporal changes comparable to designed longitudinal samples of people. We show that earnings volatility, excluding increases during recessions, has declined over the analysis period, a finding robust to various sensitivity analyses. Although we find volatility is declining, the effect is not homogeneous, particularly for workers with tenuous labor force attachment for whom volatility is increasing. These “not stable” workers have earnings volatility approximately 30 times larger than stable workers, but more important for earnings volatility trends we observe a large increase in the share of stable employment from 60% in 1998 to 67% in 2016, which we show to largely be responsible for the decline in overall earnings volatility. To further emphasize the importance of not stable and/or low earning workers we also conduct comparisons with the PSID and show how changes over time in the share of workers at the bottom tail of the cross-sectional earnings distributions can produce either declining or increasing earnings volatility trends.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin L. McKinney & John M. Abowd, 2020. "Male Earnings Volatility in LEHD before, during, and after the Great Recession," Working Papers 20-31, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:20-31
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Robert Moffitt & Sisi Zhang, 2018. "Income Volatility and the PSID: Past Research and New Results," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 108, pages 277-280, May.
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    5. John M. Abowd & Bryce E. Stephens & Lars Vilhuber & Fredrik Andersson & Kevin L. McKinney & Marc Roemer & Simon Woodcock, 2009. "The LEHD Infrastructure Files and the Creation of the Quarterly Workforce Indicators," NBER Chapters, in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 149-230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    9. Robert Moffitt & Sisi Zhang, 2022. "Estimating Trends in Male Earnings Volatility with the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 20-25, December.
    10. John M. Abowd & Kevin L. McKinney & Nellie L. Zhao, 2018. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility Trends in the United States: Nationally Representative Estimates from Longitudinally Linked Employer-Employee Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 183-300.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Moffitt & John Abowd & Christopher Bollinger & Michael Carr & Charles Hokayem & Kevin McKinney & Emily Wiemers & Sisi Zhang & James Ziliak, 2022. "Reconciling Trends in U.S. Male Earnings Volatility: Results from Survey and Administrative Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 1-11, December.
    2. Edmund Crawley & Martin Holm & Håkon Tretvoll, 2022. "A Parsimonious Model of Idiosyncratic Income," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2022-026, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Kevin L. McKinney & John M. Abowd & Hubert P. Janicki, 2022. "U.S. long‐term earnings outcomes by sex, race, ethnicity, and place of birth," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 13(4), pages 1879-1945, November.
    4. Robert Moffitt & Sisi Zhang, 2022. "Estimating Trends in Male Earnings Volatility with the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 20-25, December.
    5. John Carter Braxton & Kyle F. Herkenhoff & Jonathan Rothbaum & Lawrence Schmidt, 2021. "Changing Income Risk across the US Skill Distribution: Evidence from a Generalized Kalman Filter," Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers 55, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    6. James P. Ziliak & Charles Hokayem & Christopher R. Bollinger, 2022. "Trends in Earnings Volatility Using Linked Administrative and Survey Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 12-19, December.
    7. Keith A. Bailey & James R. Spletzer, 2020. "A New Measure of Multiple Jobholding in the U.S. Economy," Working Papers 20-26, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    8. Michael D. Carr & Robert A. Moffitt & Emily E. Wiemers, 2020. "Reconciling Trends in Volatility: Evidence from the SIPP Survey and Administrative Data," NBER Working Papers 27672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Ben Gilbert & Hannah Gagarin & Ben Hoen, 2023. "Geographic Spillovers of Wind Energy Development on Wages and Employment," Working Papers 2023-01, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
    10. Robert A. Moffitt, 2020. "Reconciling Trends in U.S. Male Earnings Volatility: Results from a Four Data Set Project," NBER Working Papers 27664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Adam Bee & Joshua Mitchell & Nikolas Mittag & Jonathan Rothbaum & Carl Sanders & Lawrence Schmidt & Matthew Unrath, 2023. "National Experimental Wellbeing Statistics - Version 1," Working Papers 23-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    12. Carr, Michael D. & Wiemers, Emily E., 2021. "The role of low earnings in differing trends in male earnings volatility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 199(C).
    13. Bailey, Keith A. & Spletzer, James R., 2021. "A new measure of multiple jobholding in the U.S. economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).

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