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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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    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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    1. van den Bergh, Gerhard & van deer Klaauw, Bas, 2001. "Counseling and monitoring of unemployed workers: theory and evidence from a controlled social experiment," Working Paper Series 2001:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    2. Eckstein, Zvi & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2003. "Empirical Labor Search: A Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 929, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 511, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. 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.
    5. Lancaster, Tony & Chesher, Andrew, 1983. "An Econometric Analysis of Reservation Wages," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1661-76, November.
    6. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Zehnder, Christian, 2005. "The Behavioral Effects of Minimum Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 1625, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 1999. "Asymptotic Properties of Weighted M-Estimators for Variable Probability Samples," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1385-1406, November.
    8. John T. Addison & Mário Centeno & Pedro Portugal, 2008. "Unemployment Benefits and Reservation Wages: Key Elasticities from a Stripped-Down Job Search Approach," Working Papers w200803, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    9. repec:iab:iabzaf:v:40:i:1:p:45-64 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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).
    11. Jones, Stephen R G, 1988. "The Relationship between Unemployment Spells and Reservation Wages as a Test of Search Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(4), pages 741-65, November.
    12. Prasad, Eswar, 2003. "What Determines the Reservation Wages of Unemployed Workers? New Evidence from German Micro Data," IZA Discussion Papers 694, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. 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.
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