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Intergenerational redistribution in the Great Recession

  • Andrew Glover
  • Jonathan Heathcote
  • Dirk Krueger
  • José-Víctor Ríos-Rull

In this paper we construct a stochastic overlapping-generations general equilibrium model in which households are subject to aggregate shocks that affect both wages and asset prices. We use a calibrated version of the model to quantify how the welfare costs of severe recessions are distributed across different household age groups. The model predicts that younger cohorts fare better than older cohorts when the equilibrium decline in asset prices is large relative to the decline in wages, as observed in the data. Asset price declines hurt the old, who rely on asset sales to finance consumption, but benefit the young, who purchase assets at depressed prices. In our preferred calibration, asset prices decline more than twice as much as wages, consistent with the experience of the US economy in the Great Recession. A model recession is approximately welfare-neutral for households in the 20–29 age group, but translates into a large welfare loss of around 10% of lifetime consumption for households aged 70 and over.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 684.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:684
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  1. Krueger, Dirk & Kubler, Felix, 2004. "Computing equilibrium in OLG models with stochastic production," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1411-1436, April.
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  3. Matthias Doepke, . "Inflation as a Redistribution Shock: Effects on Aggregates and Welfare," UCLA Economics Online Papers 412, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. John Y. Campbell & Yves Nosbusch, 2007. "Intergenerational Risksharing and Equilibrium Asset Prices," FMG Discussion Papers dp589, Financial Markets Group.
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  6. Jose Ursua & Jon Steinsson & Emi Nakamura & Robert Barro, 2008. "Crises and Recoveries in an Empirical Model of Consumption Disasters," 2008 Meeting Papers 1089, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Miyazaki, Kenji & Saito, Makoto & Yamada, Tomoaki, 2010. "On The Intergenerational Sharing Of Cohort-Specific Shocks On Permanent Income," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(01), pages 93-118, February.
  8. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 1996. "Asset pricing with idiosyncratic risk and overlapping generations," Economics Working Papers 405, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 1999.
  9. Karl Schmedders & Felix Kubler, 2012. "Life-Cycle Portfolio Choice, the Wealth Distribution and Asset Prices," 2012 Meeting Papers 536, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Meh, Césaire A. & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor & Terajima, Yaz, 2010. "Aggregate and welfare effects of redistribution of wealth under inflation and price-level targeting," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 637-652, September.
  11. Matthias Doepke & Martin Schneider, 2006. "Inflation and the Redistribution of Nominal Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1069-1097, December.
  12. Huffman, Gregory W, 1987. "A Dynamic Equilibrium Model of Asset Prices and Transaction Volume," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 138-59, February.
  13. Pamela Labadie, 1986. "Comparative Dynamics and Risk Premia in an Overlapping Generations Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(1), pages 139-152.
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