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Consumption and Risk Sharing Over the Life Cycle

  • Storesletten, Kjetil

    ()

    (Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University)

  • Telmer, Chris

    ()

    (Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University)

  • Yaron, Amir

    ()

    (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)

A striking feature of U.S. data on income and consumption is that inequality increases with age. Using both panel data and an equilibrium life cycle model, we argue that this is informative for understanding the importance and the characteristics of idiosyncratic labor market risk. We find that uncertainty distributed throughout the working years accounts for 40 percent of lifetime uncertainty, with the remainder being realized prior to entering the labor market. We estimate that shocks received over the life cycle cointain a highly persistent component, with an autocorrelation coefficient between 0.98 and unity. The joint behavior of earnings and consumption inequality, interpreted using our model, adds to the body of evidence suggesting that labor market risk are imperfectly pooled and that a precautionary motive is an important aspect of U.S. savings behavior. The restrictions imposed by general equilibrium theory play an important role in arriving at each of these conclusions.

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File URL: http://www.iies.su.se/~storeslk/papers/sty_jme2.pdf
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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies in its series Seminar Papers with number 702.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: 12 Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in Journal of Monetary Economics, 2004.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iiessp:0702
Contact details of provider: Postal: Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46-8-162000
Fax: +46-8-161443
Web page: http://www.iies.su.se/

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  1. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris & Yaron, Amir, 2002. "Consumption and Risk Sharing Over the Life Cycle," Seminar Papers 702, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  2. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
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  4. Krueger, Dirk & Perri, Fabrizio, 2005. "Does income inequality lead to consumption inequality? Evidence and theory," CFS Working Paper Series 2005/15, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  5. Fumio Hayashi & Joseph Altonji & Laurence Kotlikoff, 1991. "Risk-Sharing, Altruism, and the Factor Structure of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 3834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Rising Inequality? Changes in the Distribution of Income and Consumption in the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 3964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1995. "How Important is Precautionary Saving?," NBER Working Papers 5194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  9. Vincenzo Quadrini, 1997. "Entrepreneurship, saving and social mobility," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 116, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Carroll, Christopher D, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55, February.
  11. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
  13. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," GSIA Working Papers 1997-37, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  14. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
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  17. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1993. "Gaining Ground: Poverty in the Postwar United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-38, February.
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  19. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  20. Tauchen, George & Hussey, Robert, 1991. "Quadrature-Based Methods for Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Nonlinear Asset Pricing Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 371-96, March.
  21. 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.
  22. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2001. "How Important Are Idiosyncratic Shocks? Evidence from Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 413-417, May.
  23. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521335614 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  25. Sumru Altug & Robert A. Miller, 1987. "Household choices in equilibrium," Working Papers 341, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  26. Ana Castañeda & Javier Díaz-Giménez & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, . ""Earnings and Wealth Inequality and Income Taxation: Quantifying the Trade-Offs of Switching to a Proportional Income Tax in the U.S.''," CARESS Working Papres 98-14, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  27. Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1994. "On the quantitative importance of market completeness," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 463-496, December.
  28. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C., 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Papers 168, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  29. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 1999. "The risk-sharing implications of alternative social security arrangements," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 213-259, June.
  30. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1997. "Dimensions of inequality: facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-21.
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  33. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  34. Angus Deaton & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Social Security and Inequality over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  36. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality And Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640, May.
  37. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
  38. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
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