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Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy

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  • Krebs, Tom

    (University of Mannheim)

  • Kuhn, Moritz

    (University of Bonn)

  • Wright, Mark L. J.

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

Abstract

We use data from the Survey of Consumer Finance and Survey of Income Program Participation to show that young households with children are under-insured against the risk that an adult member of the household dies. We develop a tractable macroeconomic model with human capital risk, age-dependent returns to human capital investment, and endogenous borrowing constraints due to the limited pledgeability of human capital. We show analytically that, consistent with the life insurance data, in equilibrium young households are borrowing constrained and under-insured. A calibrated version of the model can quantitatively account for the life-cycle variation of life-insurance holdings, financial wealth, earnings, and consumption inequality observed in the US data. Our analysis implies that a reform that makes consumer bankruptcy more costly, like the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, leads to a substantial increase in the volume of both credit and insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Krebs, Tom & Kuhn, Moritz & Wright, Mark L. J., 2015. "Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy," IZA Discussion Papers 9228, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9228
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2015-08-26 18:13:08

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    Cited by:

    1. Krueger, D. & Mitman, K. & Perri, F., 2016. "Macroeconomics and Household Heterogeneity," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 843-921, Elsevier.
    2. Sebastian Koehne & Moritz Kuhn, 2015. "Should unemployment insurance be asset-tested?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 575-592, July.
    3. Mohamed Mansour & Eric Kamwa, 2021. "Judges and the price of human life in the French Court System," Working Papers hal-03129639, HAL.
    4. Moritz Kuhn, 2017. "The Research Agenda: Moritz Kuhn on Understanding income and wealth inequality," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(1), April.
    5. Fang, H., 2016. "Insurance Markets for the Elderly," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 237-309, Elsevier.
    6. Mark Huggett & Greg Kaplan, 2016. "How Large is the Stock Component of Human Capital?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 22, pages 21-51, October.
    7. Krebs, Tom & Kuhn, Moritz & Wright, Mark L. J., 2016. "Insurance in Human Capital Models with Limited Enforcement," IZA Discussion Papers 9948, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Kuhn, Moritz & Ploj, Gasper, 2020. "Job Stability, Earnings Dynamics, and Life-Cycle Savings," IZA Discussion Papers 13887, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Yang, Guanyi & Casner, Ben, 2021. "How much does schooling disutility matter?," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 87-95.
    10. Krebs, Tom & Scheffel, Martin, 2016. "Quantifizierung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Effekte ausgewählter Reformvorschläge der Studie "Reforms, Investment and Growth: An Agenda for France, Germany and Europe"," Working Papers 16-04, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    11. Rampini, Adriano A. & Viswanathan, S., 2018. "Financing Insurance," CEPR Discussion Papers 12855, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Benjamin S. Griffy, 2021. "Search And The Sources Of Life‐Cycle Inequality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1321-1362, November.
    13. Tom Krebs & Moritz Kuhn & Mark Wright, 2017. "Under-Insurance in Human Capital Models with Limited Enforcement," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 25, pages 121-150, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    limited enforcement; human capital risk; life insurance;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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