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Risk Aversion and Reservation Wages

Author

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  • Markus Pannenberg

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between individual risk aversion and reservation wages using a novel set of direct measures of individual risk attitudes from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). We find that risk aversion has a significantly negative impact on the level of reservation wages. Moreover, we show that the elasticity of the reservation wage with respect to unemployment benefits is remarkably lower for risk-averse job seekers than for risk-loving job seekers. The results are consistent with an interpretation that risk-averse job seekers set their reservation wage levels sufficiently low, so that they accept almost every job offer.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Pannenberg, 2007. "Risk Aversion and Reservation Wages," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 23, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp23
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.57395.de/diw_sp0023.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gerard J. van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw, 2006. "Counseling And Monitoring Of Unemployed Workers: Theory And Evidence From A Controlled Social Experiment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(3), pages 895-936, August.
    2. John T. Addison & Mário Centeno & Pedro Portugal, 2010. "Unemployment Benefits and Reservation Wages: Key Elasticities from a Stripped-Down Job Search Approach," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 46-59, January.
    3. Richard Rogerson & Robert Shimer & Randall Wright, 2004. "Search-Theoretic Models of the Labor Market-A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Eckstein, Zvi & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2007. "Empirical labor search: A survey," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 531-564, February.
    5. Bloemen, Hans G & Stancanelli, Elena G F, 2001. "Individual Wealth, Reservation Wages, and Transitions into Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 400-439, April.
    6. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Juergen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Working Papers 2096, The Field Experiments Website.
    7. Lancaster, Tony & Chesher, Andrew, 1983. "An Econometric Analysis of Reservation Wages," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1661-1676, November.
    8. Stephen R. G. Jones, 1988. "The Relationship Between Unemployment Spells and Reservation Wages as a Test of Search Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(4), pages 741-765.
    9. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Christian Zehnder, "undated". "The Behavioral Effects of Minimum Wages," IEW - Working Papers 247, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    10. Eswar S Prasad, 2003. "What Determines the Reservation Wages of Unemployed Workers? New Evidence From German Micro Data," IMF Working Papers 03/4, International Monetary Fund.
    11. repec:iab:iabzaf:v:40:i:1:p:45-64 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dubois, Pierre & Vukina, Tomislav, 2009. "Optimal incentives under moral hazard and heterogeneous agents: Evidence from production contracts data," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 489-500, July.
    2. Pfeifer, Christian, 2008. "A Note on Risk Aversion and Labour Market Outcomes: Further Evidence from German Survey Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3523, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Jung, SeEun & Choe, Chung & Oaxaca, Ronald L., 2018. "Gender wage gaps and risky vs. secure employment: An experimental analysis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 112-121.
    4. Christian Pfeifer, 2011. "Risk Aversion and Sorting into Public Sector Employment," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(1), pages 85-99, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk Aversion; Reservation Wages; Survey Data;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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