IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedmsr/485.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Inferring labor income risk and partial insurance from economic choices

Author

Listed:
  • Fatih Guvenen
  • Anthony Smith

Abstract

This paper uses the information contained in the joint dynamics of individuals? labor earnings and consumption-choice decisions to quantify both the amount of income risk that individuals face and the extent to which they have access to informal insurance against this risk. We accomplish this task by using indirect inference to estimate a structural consumption-savings model, in which individuals both learn about the nature of their income process and partly insure shocks via informal mechanisms. In this framework, we estimate (i) the degree of partial insurance, (ii) the extent of systematic differences in income growth rates, (iii) the precision with which individuals know their own income growth rates when they begin their working lives, (iv) the persistence of typical labor income shocks, (v) the tightness of borrowing constraints, and (vi) the amount of measurement error in the data. In implementing indirect inference, we find that an auxiliary model that approximates the true structural equations of the model (which are not estimable) works very well, with negligible small sample bias. The main substantive findings are that income shocks are not very persistent, systematic differences in income growth rates are large, individuals have substantial amounts of information about their income growth rates, and about one-half of income shocks are effectively smoothed via partial insurance. Putting these findings together, we argue that the amount of uninsurable lifetime income risk that individuals perceive is substantially smaller than what is typically assumed in calibrated macroeconomic models with incomplete markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Fatih Guvenen & Anthony Smith, 2013. "Inferring labor income risk and partial insurance from economic choices," Staff Report 485, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:485
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=5122
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/sr/sr485.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-987, December.
    2. Pedro Carneiro & Karsten T. Hansen & James J. Heckman, 2003. "Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College," NBER Working Papers 9546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-1248, September.
    4. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 767, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Magnac, Thierry & Robin, Jean-Marc & Visser, Michael, 1995. "Analysing Incomplete Individual Employment Histories Using Indirect Inference," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(S), pages 153-169, Suppl. De.
    6. Pedro Carneiro & Karsten T. Hansen & James J. Heckman, 2003. "2001 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College Choice," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 361-422, May.
    7. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality and Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640.
    8. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2005. "Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 191-261, April.
    9. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "Learning Your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really Very Persistent?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 687-712, June.
    10. Ravi Bansal & A. Ronald Gallant & George Tauchen, 2007. "Rational Pessimism, Rational Exuberance, and Asset Pricing Models," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 74(4), pages 1005-1033.
    11. Greg Kaplan, 2012. "Inequality and the life cycle," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(3), pages 471-525, November.
    12. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
    13. Smith, A A, Jr, 1993. "Estimating Nonlinear Time-Series Models Using Simulated Vector Autoregressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(S), pages 63-84, Suppl. De.
    14. Li, Tong, 2010. "Indirect inference in structural econometric models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 157(1), pages 120-128, July.
    15. Primiceri, Giorgio E. & van Rens, Thijs, 2009. "Heterogeneous life-cycle profiles, income risk and consumption inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 20-39, January.
    16. Altug, Sumru & Miller, Robert A, 1990. "Household Choices in Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(3), pages 543-570, May.
    17. Hayashi, Fumio & Altonji, Joseph & Kotlikoff, Laurence, 1996. "Risk-Sharing between and within Families," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 261-294, March.
    18. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
    19. Johnson, David & Shipp, Stephanie, 1997. "Trends in Inequality Using Consumption-Expenditures: The U.S. from 1960 to 1993," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(2), pages 133-152, June.
    20. Hall, Robert E & Mishkin, Frederic S, 1982. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 461-481, March.
    21. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1992. "Aggregate Consumption and Saving in the Postwar United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 585-597, November.
    22. 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.
    23. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(4), pages 352-352.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Tony Smith & M. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "Inferring Labor Income Risk from Economic Choices: An Indirect Inference Approach," 2007 Meeting Papers 1024, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2014. "Consumption and Labor Supply with Partial Insurance: An Analytical Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 2075-2126, July.
    3. Ivan Vidangos, 2009. "Household welfare, precautionary saving, and social insurance under multiple sources of risk," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "How Much Consumption Insurance beyond Self-Insurance?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 53-87, October.
    5. Joseph G. Altonji & Anthony A. Smith Jr. & Ivan Vidangos, 2013. "Modeling Earnings Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(4), pages 1395-1454, July.
    6. Estelle Dauchy & Francisco Navarro-Sanchez & Nathan Seegert, 2021. "Taxation and Inequality: Active and Passive Channels," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 42, pages 156-177, October.
    7. Karen Clay & Peter Juul Egedes & Casper Worm Hansen & Peter Sandholt Jensen, 2018. "Controlling Tuberculosis? Evidence from the Mother of all Community-Wide Health Experiments," Discussion Papers 18-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    8. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Itay Saporta-Eksten, 2016. "Consumption Inequality and Family Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(2), pages 387-435, February.
    9. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative Macroeconomics with Heterogeneous Households," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 319-354, May.
    10. Yamada, Tomoaki, 2012. "Income risk, macroeconomic and demographic change, and economic inequality in Japan," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 63-84.
    11. Magnac, Thierry & Pistolesi, Nicolas & Roux, Sébastien, 2013. "Post schooling human capital investments and the life cycle variance of earnings," TSE Working Papers 13-380, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    12. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "Learning Your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really Very Persistent?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 687-712, June.
    13. Salvador Navarro, 2011. "Using Observed Choices to Infer Agent's Information: Reconsidering the Importance of Borrowing Constraints, Uncertainty and Preferences in College Attendance," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20118, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    14. Singh, Aarti, 2010. "Human capital risk in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 729-738, September.
    15. repec:fip:fedreq:y:2011:i:3q:p:255-326:n:vol.97no.3 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Fossen, Frank M. & Glocker, Daniela, 2017. "Stated and revealed heterogeneous risk preferences in educational choice," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 1-25.
    17. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 2010. "Consumption and Saving: Models of Intertemporal Allocation and Their Implications for Public Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(3), pages 693-751, September.
    18. Primiceri, Giorgio E. & van Rens, Thijs, 2009. "Heterogeneous life-cycle profiles, income risk and consumption inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 20-39, January.
    19. Richard Blundell & Hamish Low & Ian Preston, 2013. "Decomposing changes in income risk using consumption data," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(1), pages 1-37, March.
    20. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2011. "Earnings, Consumption and Life Cycle Choices," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 9, pages 773-854, Elsevier.
    21. Blundell, Richard & Preston, Ian & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Partial Insurance, Information, and Consumption Dynamics," CEPR Discussion Papers 3666, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor economics; Income;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:485. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Jannelle Ruswick (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cfrbmus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.