IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

On the Persistence of Income Shocks over the Life Cycle: Evidence and Implications

  • Fatih Karahan

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Serdar Ozkan

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

This paper proposes a novel specification for residual earnings that allows for a lifetime profile in the persistence and variance of labor income shocks. We show theoretically that the statistical model is identified and estimate it using data from the PSID. We strongly reject the hypothesis of a flat life-cycle profile for persistence and variance of persistent shocks, but not for the variance of transitory shocks. Shocks to earnings are only moderately persistent (around 0.75) for young individuals. Persistence rises with age up to unity until midway in life and decreases to around 0.95 toward the end of the life cycle. On the other hand, the variance of persistent shocks exhibits a U-shaped profile over the life cycle (with a minimum of 0.01 and a maximum of 0.045). Our estimate of persistence, for most of the working life, is substantially lower than typical estimates in the literature. We investigate the implications of these profiles for consumption-savings behavior with a standard life-cycle model. Under natural borrowing limits, the welfare cost of idiosyncratic risk implied by the age dependent income process is 32% lower compared to an AR(1) process without age profiles. This is mostly due to a higher degree of consumption insurance for young workers, for whom persistence is moderate. The results hold qualitatively for an economy with no borrowing, although the difference between specifications is smaller (23%). We conclude that the welfare cost of idiosyncratic risk is overstated.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/working-papers/09-045.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 09-045.

as
in new window

Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 09 Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:09-045
Contact details of provider: Postal: 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: 215-898-9992
Fax: 215-573-2378
Web page: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/pier
Email:


More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pen:papers:09-045. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dolly Guarini)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.