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Intra-Household Risk Sharing and Job Search over the Business Cycle

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  • Haomin Wang

Abstract

This paper studies the extent to which working couples can insure one another against cyclical fluctuations in the labor market and examines the implications of joint household decision-making for cyclical fluctuations in the unemployment rate. For this purpose, I provide a dynamic life-cycle model of households that make joint savings and job search decisions in the presence of aggregate shocks. I show that two key mechanisms are at play. The first is the added-worker effect, which leads to counter-cyclical search intensity because workers increase search intensity when their spouse becomes unemployed. The second is the comparative advantage effect, according to which couples’ job search efforts are coordinated based on the relative returns to search of each spouse. I estimate the model using data from the US Current Population Survey, and find that joint household decision-making contributes to the counter-cyclicality of women’s unemployment rate, but not for men. Moreover, joint household decision-making lowers the welfare costs of cyclicality.

Suggested Citation

  • Haomin Wang, 2018. "Intra-Household Risk Sharing and Job Search over the Business Cycle," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1760, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1760
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kathrin Ellieroth, 2019. "Spousal Insurance, Precautionary Labor Supply, and the Business Cycle - A Quantitative Analysis," 2019 Meeting Papers 1134, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. J. Ignacio García‐Pérez & Sílvio Rendon, 2020. "Family job search and wealth: The added worker effect revisited," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(4), pages 1431-1459, November.
    3. Titan Alon & Matthias Doepke & Jane Olmstead-Rumsey, 2020. "This Time It’s Different: The Role of Women’s Employment in a Pandemic Recession," Working Papers 2020-057, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    4. Hanming Fang & Andrew J. Shephard, 2019. "Household Labor Search, Spousal Insurance, and Health Care Reform," NBER Working Papers 26350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Guner, Nezih & Kulikova, Yuliya & Valladares-Esteban, Arnau, 2020. "Does the Added Worker Effect Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 12923, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Joint Decision-Making; Cyclical Fluctuations; Unemployment Rate; Search Intensity; Intra-Household Risk Sharing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General

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