The nature of countercyclical income risk
This paper studies the nature of business cycle variation in individual earnings risk using a dataset from the U.S. Social Security Administration, which contains (uncapped) earnings histories for millions of anonymous individuals. The base sample is a nationally representative panel containing 10 percent of all U.S. males from 1978 to 2010. We use these data to decompose individual earnings growth during recessions into "between-group" and "within-group" components. We begin with the behavior of within-group shocks. Contrary to past research, we do not find the variance of idiosyncratic earnings shocks to be countercyclical. Instead, it is the left-skewness of shocks that is strongly countercyclical. That is, during recessions, the upper end of the shock distribution collapses--large upward earnings movements become less likely--whereas the bottom end expands--large drops in earnings become more likely. Thus, while the dispersion of shocks does not increase, shocks become more left skewed and, hence, riskier during recessions. Second, to study between-group differences, we group individuals based on several observable characteristics at the time a recession hits. One of these characteristics--the average earnings of an individual at the beginning of a business cycle episode--proves to be an especially good predictor of fortunes during a recession: prime-age workers that enter a recession with high average earnings suffer substantially less compared with those who enter with low average earnings (such "asymmetry" is not evident in expansions). Finally, we find that the cyclical nature of earnings risk is dramatically different for the top 1 percent compared with all other individuals--even relative to those in the top 2 to 5 percent.
|Date of creation:||2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.federalreserve.gov/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/fedsorder.html|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Karen E. Dynan & Douglas W. Elmendorf & Daniel E. Sichel, 2007.
"The evolution of household income volatility,"
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
2007-61, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2011.
"Heterogeneity and Tests of Risk Sharing,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(5), pages 925 - 958.
- Almut Balleer & Thijs van Rens, 2013.
"Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Business Cycle,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1222-1237, October.
- Almut Balleer, Thijs van Rens, 2012. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Business Cycle," Kiel Working Papers 1775, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
- Almut Balleer & Thijs van Rens, 2011. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Business Cycle," Working Papers 560, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Balleer, Almut & van Rens, Thijs, 2011. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 8410, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Almut Balleer & Thijs van Rens, 2008. "Skill-biased technological change and the business cycle," Economics Working Papers 1079, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2012.
- CASTRO, Rui & COEN-PIRANI, Daniele, 2005.
"Why Have Aggregate Skilled Hours Become So Cyclical Since the Mid-1980's?,"
Cahiers de recherche
2005-19, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
- Rui Castro & Daniele Coen-Pirani, 2008. "WHY HAVE AGGREGATE SKILLED HOURS BECOME SO CYCLICAL SINCE THE MID-1980s?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 135-185, 02.
- Rui Castro & Daniele Coen-Pirani, . "Why Have Aggregate Skilled Hours Become So Cyclical Since the Mid 1980s?," GSIA Working Papers 2006-E27, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
- CASTRO, Rui & COEN-PIRANI, Daniele, 2005. "Why Have Aggregate Skilled Hours Become so Cyclical since the Mid-1980’s?," Cahiers de recherche 24-2005, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
- Giesecke, Matthias & Bönke, Timm & Lüthen, Holger, 2011. "The Dynamics of Earnings in Germany: Evidence from Social Security Records," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48692, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
- Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data since 1937," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128, February.
- Katharine G. Abraham & Lawrence F. Katz, 1987.
"Cyclical Unemployment: Sectoral Shifts or Aggregate Disturbances?,"
NBER Working Papers
1410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Abraham, Katharine G & Katz, Lawrence F, 1986. "Cyclical Unemployment: Sectoral Shifts or Aggregate Disturbances?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 507-22, June.
- Abraham, Katharine G. & Katz, Lawrence F., 1986. "Cyclical Unemployment: Sectoral Shifts or Aggregate Disturbances?," Scholarly Articles 3442781, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996.
"Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-40, April.
- N. Gregory Mankiw, 1986.
"The Equity Premium and the Concentration of Aggregate Shocks,"
NBER Working Papers
1788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1986. "The equity premium and the concentration of aggregate shocks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 211-219, September.
- Rui Castro & Daniele Coen-Pirani, . "Why Have Aggregate Skilled Hours," GSIA Working Papers 2006-E27, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
- Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-93, August.
- Sabelhaus, John & Song, Jae, 2010. "The great moderation in micro labor earnings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 391-403, May.
- Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Cyclical Dynamics in Idiosyncratic Labor Market Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 695-717, June.
This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
- The Nature of Countercyclical Income Risk (JPE 2014) in ReplicationWiki
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2013-25. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kris Vajs)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.