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Worker Betas: Five Facts about Systematic Earnings Risk



The magnitude of and heterogeneity in systematic earnings risk has important implications for various theories in macro, labor, and ?nancial economics. Using administrative data, we document how the aggregate risk exposure of individual earnings to GDP and stock returns varies across gender, age, the worker?s earnings level, and industry. Aggregate risk exposure is U-shaped with respect to the earnings level. In the middle of the earnings distribution, aggregate risk exposure is higher for males, younger workers, and those in construction and durable manufacturing. At the top of the earnings distribution, aggregate risk exposure is higher for older workers and those in ?nance. Workers in larger employers are less exposed to aggregate risk, but they are more exposed to a common factor in employer-level earnings, especially at the top of the earnings distribution. Within an employer, higher-paid workers have higher exposure to employer-level risk than lower-paid workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Fatih Guvenen & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl & Jae Song & Motohiro Yogo, 2017. "Worker Betas: Five Facts about Systematic Earnings Risk," Staff Report 546, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:546

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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Roth & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "How Do Expectations about the Macroeconomy Affect Personal Expectations and Behavior?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 731-748, October.
    2. Felipe Alves & Greg Kaplan & Benjamin Moll & Giovanni L. Violante, 2020. "A Further Look at the Propagation of Monetary Policy Shocks in HANK," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 52(S2), pages 521-559, December.
    3. Fabio C. Bagliano & Raffaele Corvino & Carolina Fugazza & Giovanna Nicodano, 2018. "Hedging Labor Income Risk over the Life-Cycle," Working papers 058, Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino.
    4. Matthew Rognlie & Adrien Auclert, 2016. "Inequality and Aggregate Demand," 2016 Meeting Papers 1353, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Matthijs Breugem & Stefano Colonnello & Roberto Marfè & Francesca Zucchi, 2020. "Dynamic Equity Slope," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 626, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
      • Matthijs Breugem & Stefano Colonello & Roberto Marfè & Francesca Zucchi, 2020. "Dynamic Equity Slope," Working Papers 2020:21, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    6. Slacalek, Jiri & Tristani, Oreste & Violante, Giovanni L., 2020. "Household balance sheet channels of monetary policy: A back of the envelope calculation for the euro area," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 115(C).
    7. Brown, Jessica H. & Herbst, Chris M., 2021. "Child Care over the Business Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 14048, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Brian D. Bell & Nicholas Bloom & Jack Blundell, 2021. "This Time is Not so Different: Income Dynamics During the COVID-19 Recession," NBER Working Papers 28871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Niklas Amberg & Thomas Jansson & Mathias Klein & Anna Rogantini Picco, 2021. "Five Facts about the Distributional Income Effects of Monetary Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 9062, CESifo.
    10. Fleck, Johannes & Monninger, Adrian, 2020. "Culture and portfolios: trust, precautionary savings and home ownership," Working Paper Series 2457, European Central Bank.
    11. Scanlon, Paul, 2020. "Aggregate risk and wage dispersion," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions


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