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The Economic Security Index: a new measure for research and policy analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Jacob S. Hacker
  • Gregory Huber
  • Austin Nichols
  • Philipp Rehm
  • Mark Schlesinger
  • Robert G. Valletta
  • Stuart Craig

Abstract

This paper presents the Economic Security Index (ESI), a new, more comprehensive measure of economic insecurity. By combining data from multiple surveys, we create an integrated measure of volatility in available household resources, accounting for fluctuations in income and out-of pocket medical expenses, as well as financial wealth sufficient to buffer against these shocks. We find that insecurity has risen steadily since the mid-1980s for virtually all subgroups of Americans, albeit with cyclical ups and downs. We also find, however, that there is substantial disparity in the degree to which different groups are exposed to economic risk. As the ESI derives from a data-independent conceptual foundation, it can be measured using different data sources. We find that the degree and disparity by which insecurity has risen is robust across these sources.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob S. Hacker & Gregory Huber & Austin Nichols & Philipp Rehm & Mark Schlesinger & Robert G. Valletta & Stuart Craig, 2012. "The Economic Security Index: a new measure for research and policy analysis," Working Paper Series 2012-21, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2012-21
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marina Romaguera de la Cruz, 2017. "Economic insecurity in Spain: A multidimensional analysis," Working Papers 448, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    2. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2014. "Measuring Economic Insecurity in Rich and Poor Nations," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 53-76, May.
    3. Shai Bernstein & Timothy McQuade & Richard R. Townsend, 2017. "Do Household Wealth Shocks Affect Productivity? Evidence from Innovative Workers During the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 24011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Romina Boarini & Lars Osberg, 2014. "Economic Insecurity: Editors' Introduction," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 1-4, May.
    5. Smith, Trenton G. & Stillman, Steven & Craig, Stuart, 2013. "The U.S. Obesity Epidemic:New Evidence from the Economic Security Index," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151419, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Staudigel, Matthias, 2016. "A soft pillow for hard times? Economic insecurity, food intake and body weight in Russia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 198-212.
    7. Staudigel, Matthias, 2015. "A soft pillow for hard times: Effects of economic insecurity on body weight in transitional Russia," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205189, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    8. Smith, Trenton G. & Stillman, Steven & Craig, Stuart, 2017. "'Rational Overeating' in a Feast-or-Famine World: Economic Insecurity and the Obesity Epidemic," IZA Discussion Papers 10954, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Households - Economic aspects;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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