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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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Krueger, D. & Mitman, K. & Perri, F., 2016. "Macroeconomics and Household Heterogeneity," Handbook of Macroeconomics, 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. repec:red:ecodyn:v:18:y:2017:i:1:agenda is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_237 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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.
    6. Krebs, Tom & Kuhn, Moritz & Wright, Mark L. J., 2016. "Insurance in Human Capital Models with Limited Enforcement," IZA Discussion Papers 9948, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Fang, H., 2016. "Insurance Markets for the Elderly," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.

    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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