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Comparative advantage and risk premia in labor markets

Author

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  • German Cubas
  • Pedro Silos

Abstract

Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), we document a significant and positive association between earnings risk (both permanent and transitory) and the level of earnings across 21 industries. We propose an equilibrium framework to analyze the interplay between earnings volatility and the distribution of skills across workers in determining a relationship between earnings and risk. We use the model to decompose how much of the empirical correlation represents compensation for risk and how much represents selection. The positive association between permanent risk and earnings is compensation for risk, but selection is responsible for the observed relationship between temporary risk and the level of earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • German Cubas & Pedro Silos, 2012. "Comparative advantage and risk premia in labor markets," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2012-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2012-15
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    File URL: http://www.frbatlanta.org/documents/pubs/wp/wp1215.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fatih Guvenen, 2009. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 58-79, January.
    2. Hamish Low & Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "Wage Risk and Employment Risk over the Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1432-1467, September.
    3. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Mobility and Wage Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 731-759.
    4. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
    5. John Abowd & Martha Stinson, 2011. "Estimating Measurement Error in SIPP Annual Job Earnings: A Comparison of Census Bureau Survey and SSA Administrative Data," Working Papers 11-20, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
    7. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2008. "Insurance and opportunities: A welfare analysis of labor market risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 501-525, April.
    8. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
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    Cited by:

    1. Neumuller, Seth, 2015. "Inter-industry wage differentials revisited: Wage volatility and the option value of mobility," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 38-54.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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