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Insurance Within the Firm

  • Guiso, Luigi
  • Pistaferri, Luigi
  • Schivardi, Fabiano

The full insurance hypothesis states that shocks to the firm's performance do not affect workers' compensation. In principal-agent models with moral hazard, firms trade off insurance and incentives to induce workers to supply the optimal level of effort. We use a long panel of matched employer-employee data to test the theoretical predictions of principal-agent models of wage determination in a general context where all types of workers, not only CEOs, are present. We allow for both transitory and permanent shocks to firm performance and find that firms are willing to absorb fully transitory fluctuations in productivity but insure workers only partially against permanent shocks. Risk-sharing considerations can account for about 10% of overall earnings variability, the remainder originating in idiosyncratic shocks. Finally, we show that the amount of insurance varies by type of worker and firm in ways that are consistent with principal-agent models but are hard to reconcile with competitive labour market models, with or without frictions.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2793.

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Date of creation: May 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2793
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  1. Gamber, Edward N, 1988. "Long-term Risk-Sharing Wage Contracts in an Economy Subject to Permanent and Temporary Shocks," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 83-99, January.
  2. L Christofides & A Oswald, 1991. "Real Wage Determination and Rent-Sharing in Collective Bargaining Agreements," CEP Discussion Papers dp0042, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2002. "Inverse probability weighted M-estimators for sample selection, attrition and stratification," CeMMAP working papers CWP11/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
  5. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 8876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 745-778, September.
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