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Worker Betas: Five Facts about Systematic Earnings Risk

Author

Listed:
  • Fatih Guvenen
  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl
  • Jae Song
  • Motohiro Yogo

Abstract

The magnitude of and heterogeneity in systematic earnings risk has important implications for various theories in macro, labor, and financial economics. Using administrative data, we document how the aggregate risk exposure of individual earnings to GDP and stock returns varies across gender, age, the worker’s earnings level, and industry. Aggregate risk exposure is U-shaped with respect to the earnings level. In the middle of the earnings distribution, aggregate risk exposure is higher for males, younger workers, and those in construction and durable manufacturing. At the top of the earnings distribution, aggregate risk exposure is higher for older workers and those in finance. Workers in larger employers are less exposed to aggregate risk, but they are more exposed to a common factor in employer-level earnings, especially at the top of the earnings distribution. Within an employer, higher-paid workers have higher exposure to the employer-level risk than lower-paid workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Fatih Guvenen & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl & Jae Song & Motohiro Yogo, 2017. "Worker Betas: Five Facts about Systematic Earnings Risk," NBER Working Papers 23163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23163
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    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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