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Risk Aversion and Reservation Wages

  • Markus Pannenberg
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    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.

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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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    Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 23.

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    Length: 19 + Anh. p.
    Date of creation: 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp23
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    Web page: http://www.diw.de/en/soep
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    1. 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.
    2. Hans Bloemen & Elena Stancanelli, 2001. "Individual Wealth, Reservation Wages, and Transitions into Employment," Post-Print hal-01017002, HAL.
    3. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 1730, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Addison, John T. & Centeno, Mario & Portugal, Pedro, 2008. "Unemployment Benefits and Reservation Wages: Key Elasticities from a Stripped-Down Job Search Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 3357, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Eckstein, Zvi & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2003. "Empirical Labor Search: A Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 929, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Zehnder, Christian, 2005. "The Behavioural Effects of Minimum Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 5115, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. van den Berg, Gerard J. & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2001. "Counseling and Monitoring of Unemployed Workers: Theory and Evidence from a Controlled Social Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 1999. "Asymptotic Properties of Weighted M-Estimators for Variable Probability Samples," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1385-1406, November.
    9. Eswar Prasad, 2003. "What Determines the Reservation Wages of Unemployed Workers? New Evidence From German Micro Data," IMF Working Papers 03/4, International Monetary Fund.
    10. 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.
    11. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    12. repec:iab:iabzaf:v:40:i:1:p:45-64 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Lancaster, Tony & Chesher, Andrew, 1983. "An Econometric Analysis of Reservation Wages," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1661-76, November.
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