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Consumption Smoothing and the Structure of Labor and Credit Markets

Author

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  • Bertola, Giuseppe

    () (EDHEC Business School)

  • Koeniger, Winfried

    () (University of St. Gallen)

Abstract

Smoother labor incomes alleviate credit constraints by reducing workers' desire to borrow, and prospects of upward income mobility have smaller beneficial effects for currently poor workers when borrowing constraints are binding. These simple theoretical insights are consistent with the empirically more pronounced tendency of poor would-borrowers to favor government redistribution in countries where consumer credit is relatively scarce. They may also explain observed institutional patterns across countries and markets: policies that reduce the dispersion and volatility of labor income appear to be more prevalent in countries where inefficient legal systems restrict borrowing opportunities. Our theoretical perspective and empirical results offer more general insights as to ways in which historically determined features and politico-economic interactions may jointly shape institutional aspects of different markets, and as to appropriate design of reform processes.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertola, Giuseppe & Koeniger, Winfried, 2004. "Consumption Smoothing and the Structure of Labor and Credit Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 1052, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1052
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michal Pilc, 2015. "What Determines The Reforms Of Employment Protection Legislation? A Global Perspective," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 10(4), pages 111-129, December.
    2. Christian Dreger & Manuel Artís & Rosina Moreno & Raúl Ramos & Jordi Suriñach, 2007. "Study on the feasibility of a tool to measure the macroeconomic impact of structural reforms," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 272, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    3. Giuseppe Bertola, 2004. "Verkrustete Arbeitsmärkte: auf dem Weg in die Arbeitslosigkeit?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 57(17), pages 24-27, September.
    4. Alfonso Arpaia & Gilles Mourre, 2012. "Institutions And Performance In European Labour Markets: Taking A Fresh Look At Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 1-41, February.
    5. Giuseppe Bertola, 2004. "Creaking Labour Markets: Migrating into Unemployment?," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 5(3), pages 48-52, September.
    6. Serena Trucchi, 2011. "How credit markets affect homeownership: an explanation based on differences between Italian regions," CeRP Working Papers 122, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    7. Charles Grant & Winfried Koeniger, 2009. "Redistributive Taxation and Personal Bankruptcy in U.S. States," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 445-467, August.
    8. Mabbett, Deborah, 2004. "Fiscal stabilisers in Europe: the macroeconomic impact of tax and benefit systems," EUROMOD Working Papers EM7/04, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    9. B. Gabriela Mundaca & Jon Strand, 2005. "A risk allocation approach to optimal exchange rate policy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 398-421, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor market institutions; consumer credit; redistribution; borrowing constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

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