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Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy

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  • Tom Krebs
  • Moritz Kuhn
  • Mark L. J. Wright

Abstract

We develop a macroeconomic model with physical and human capital, human capital risk, and limited contract enforcement. We show analytically that young (high-return) households are the most exposed to human capital risk and are also the least insured. We document this risk-insurance pattern in data on life-insurance drawn from the Survey of Consumer Finance. A calibrated version of the model can quantitatively account for the life-cycle variation of insurance observed in the US data and implies welfare costs of under-insurance for young households that are equivalent to a 4 percent reduction in lifetime consumption. A policy reform that makes consumer bankruptcy more costly leads to a substantial increase in the volume of credit and insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Krebs & Moritz Kuhn & Mark L. J. Wright, 2011. "Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy," NBER Working Papers 17714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17714
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    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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    5. 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.
    6. 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).
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    9. 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.
    10. Moritz Kuhn & Gašper Ploj, 2020. "Job Stability, Earnings Dynamics, and Life-Cycle Savings," CESifo Working Paper Series 8710, CESifo.
    11. Mohamed Mansour & Eric Kamwa, 2021. "Judges and the price of human life in the French Court System," Working Papers hal-03129639, HAL.
    12. 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.
    13. Rampini, Adriano A. & Viswanathan, S., 2018. "Financing Insurance," CEPR Discussion Papers 12855, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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