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Uninsurable individual risk and the cyclical behavior of unemployment and vacancies

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  • Enchuan Shao
  • Pedro Silos

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the business cycle dynamics in search-and-matching models of the labor market when agents are ex post heterogeneous. We focus on wealth heterogeneity that comes as a result of imperfect opportunities to insure against idiosyncratic risk. We show that this heterogeneity implies wage rigidity relative to a complete insurance economy. The fraction of wealth-poor agents prevents real wages from falling too much in recessions since small decreases in income imply large losses in utility. Analogously, wages rise less in expansions compared with the standard model because small increases are enough for poor workers to accept job offers. This mechanism reduces the volatility of wages and increases the volatility of vacancies and unemployment. This channel can be relevant if the lack of insurance is large enough so that the fraction of agents close to the borrowing constraint is significant. However, discipline in the parameterization implies an earnings variance and persistence in the unemployment state that result in a large degree of self-insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Enchuan Shao & Pedro Silos, 2007. "Uninsurable individual risk and the cyclical behavior of unemployment and vacancies," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2007-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2007-05
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    1. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bils, Mark & Chang, Yongsung & Kim, Sun-Bin, 2012. "Comparative advantage and unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 150-165.
    2. Leena Rudanko, 2011. "Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Risk in a Frictional Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2823-2843, October.
    3. Alisdair McKay & Tamas Papp, 2011. "Accounting for Idiosyncratic Wage Risk Over the Business Cycle," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-028, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    4. Emine Boz & Ceyhun Bora Durdu & Nan Li, 2009. "Labor market search in emerging economies," International Finance Discussion Papers 989, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Ayşegül Şahin, 2010. "Labour-Market Matching with Precautionary Savings and Aggregate Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1477-1507.
    6. Mark Bils & Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2011. "Worker Heterogeneity and Endogenous Separations in a Matching Model of Unemployment Fluctuations," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 128-154, January.
    7. Carlos Miguel Silva & Ana Paula Ribeiro, 2011. "The Impacts of Structural Changes in the Labor Market: a Comparative Statics Analysis Using Heterogeneous-agent Framework," CEF.UP Working Papers 1104, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    8. Wouter Den Haan & Pontus Rendahl & Markus Riegler, 2015. "Unemployment (Fears) and Deflationary Spirals," Discussion Papers 1521, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    9. Makoto Nakajima, 2012. "Business Cycles In The Equilibrium Model Of Labor Market Search And Self‐Insurance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 399-432, May.
    10. Jan Eeckhout & Korie Amberger, 2017. "Labor Market Liquidity," 2017 Meeting Papers 839, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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