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Nonlinear Household Earnings Dynamics, Self-insurance, and Welfare

Author

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  • Mariacristina De Nardi
  • Giulio Fella
  • Gonzalo Paz Pardo

Abstract

Earnings dynamics are much richer than typically assumed in macro models with heterogeneous agents. This holds for individual-pre-tax and household-post-tax earnings and across administrative (Social Security Administration) and survey (Panel Study of Income Dynamics) data. We estimate two alternative processes for household after-tax earnings and study their implications using a standard life-cycle model. Both processes feature a persistent and a transitory component, but while the first one is the canonical linear process with stationary shocks, the second one has substantially richer earnings dynamics, allowing for age-dependence of moments, non-normality, and nonlinearity in previous earnings and age. Allowing for richer earnings dynamics implies a substantially better fit of the evolution of cross-sectional consumption inequality over the life cycle and of the individual-level degree of consumption insurance against persistent earnings shocks. The richer earnings process also implies lower welfare costs of earnings risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariacristina De Nardi & Giulio Fella & Gonzalo Paz Pardo, 2018. "Nonlinear Household Earnings Dynamics, Self-insurance, and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 24326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24326
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fatih Guvenen & Fatih Karahan & Serdar Ozkan & Jae Song, 2015. "What Do Data on Millions of U.S. Workers Reveal about Life-Cycle Earnings Risk?," Working Papers 719, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, revised 30 Jan 2015.
    2. Mariacristina De Nardi & Giulio Fella, 2017. "Saving and Wealth Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 280-300, October.
    3. Blundell, Richard & Graber, Michael & Mogstad, Magne, 2015. "Labor income dynamics and the insurance from taxes, transfers, and the family," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 58-73.
    4. Giulio Fella & Giovanni Gallipoli & Jutong Pan, 2019. "Markov-Chain Approximations for Life-Cycle Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 34, pages 183-201, October.
    5. Fatih Guvenen & Fatih Karahan & Serdar Ozkan & Jae Song, 2015. "What Do Data on Millions of U.S. Workers Reveal about Life-Cycle Earnings Risk?," NBER Working Papers 20913, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Michael Graber & Jeremy Lise, 2016. "Labor Market Frictions, Human Capital Accumulation, and Consumption Inequality," 2016 Meeting Papers 136, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Stéphane Bonhomme & Jean-Marc Robin, 2009. "Assessing the Equalizing Force of Mobility Using Short Panels: France, 1990-2000," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 63-92.
    8. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John B. Jones, 2010. "Why Do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 39-75, February.
    9. Haider, Steven J, 2001. "Earnings Instability and Earnings Inequality of Males in the United States: 1967-1991," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 799-836, October.
    10. Juan Carlos Conesa & Sagiri Kitao & Dirk Krueger, 2009. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea after All!," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 25-48, March.
    11. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "Learning Your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really Very Persistent?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 687-712, June.
    12. Geweke, John & Keane, Michael, 2000. "An empirical analysis of earnings dynamics among men in the PSID: 1968-1989," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 293-356, June.
    13. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
    14. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2006. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 607-643, August.
    15. Mariacristina De Nardi & Giulio Fella & Gonzalo Paz Pardo, 2016. "The Implications of Richer Earnings Dynamics for Consumption and Wealth," NBER Working Papers 21917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Fatih Karahan & Serdar Ozkan, 2013. "On the Persistence of Income Shocks over the Life Cycle: Evidence, Theory, and Implications," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 452-476, July.
    17. Dirk Krueger & Hanno Lustig & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea After All!," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/22, Center for Financial Studies.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Nonlinear household earnings dynamics, self-insurance, and welfare
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2018-07-31 13:51:19

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    Cited by:

    1. Giulio Fella & Giovanni Gallipoli & Jutong Pan, 2019. "Markov-Chain Approximations for Life-Cycle Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 34, pages 183-201, October.
    2. Amengual, D.; Bueren, J.; Crego, J.A.;, 2017. "Endogenous Health Groups and Heterogeneous Dynamics of the Elderly," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 17/18, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    3. Seth Pruitt & Nicholas Turner, 2018. "The Nature of Household Labor Income Risk," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-034, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. De Nardi, Mariacristina & Fella, Giulio & Knoef, Marike & Paz-Pardo, Gonzalo & Van Ooijen, Raun, 2019. "Family and Government Insurance: Wage, Earnings, and Income Risks in the Netherlands and the U.S," CEPR Discussion Papers 13720, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Giovanni Gallipoli & Brant Abbott, 2017. ""Permanent Income" Inequality," 2017 Meeting Papers 1033, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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