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The Money Value of a Man

  • Mark Huggett

    (Georgetown University)

  • Greg Kaplan

    (Princeton University)

This paper posits a notion of the value of an individual's human capital and the associated return on human capital. These concepts are examined using U.S. data on male earnings and financial asset returns. We find that (1) the value of human capital is far below the value implied by discounting earnings at the risk-free rate, (2) mean human capital returns exceed stock returns early in life and decline with age, (3) the stock component of the value of human capital is smaller than the bond component at all ages and (4) human capital returns and stock returns have a small positive correlation over the working lifetime.

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File URL: http://www.princeton.edu/ceps/workingpapers/238kaplan.pdf
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 1474.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:238kaplan
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  1. Mark Huggett & Juan Carols Parra, 2006. "How Well Does the US Social Insurance System Provide Social Insurance?," Working Papers gueconwpa~06-06-11, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Unequal we stand: an empirical analysis of economic inequality in the United States, 1967-2006," Staff Report 436, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Fatih Guvenen, 2009. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 58-79, January.
  5. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Cyclical Dynamics in Idiosyncratic Labor Market Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 695-717, June.
  6. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2005. "Earnings Functions, Rates of Return and Treatment Effects: The Mincer Equation and Beyond," NBER Working Papers 11544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Zvi Bodie & Robert C. Merton & William F. Samuelson, 1992. "Labor Supply Flexibility and Portfolio Choice in a Life-Cycle Model," NBER Working Papers 3954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," Working Papers gueconwpa~07-07-04, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  9. Fatih Guvenen & Anthony Smith, 2010. "Inferring labor income risk from economic choices: an indirect inference approach," Staff Report 450, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Graham, John W & Webb, Roy H, 1979. "Stocks and Depreciation of Human Capital: New Evidence from a Present-Value Perspective," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 25(2), pages 209-24, June.
  11. Luca Benzoni & Pierre Collin-Dufresne & Robert S. Goldstein, 2007. "Portfolio Choice over the Life-Cycle when the Stock and Labor Markets Are Cointegrated," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(5), pages 2123-2167, October.
  12. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  13. John Y. Campbell & Joao F. Cocco & Francisco J. Gomes & Pascala J. Maenhout, 2000. "Investing Retirement Wealth? A Life-Cycle Model," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1896, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  15. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 7978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Asset Pricing with Idiosyncratic Risk and Overlapping Generations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 519-548, October.
  17. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  18. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2005. "The Returns on Human Capital: Good News on Wall Street is Bad News on Main Street," NBER Working Papers 11564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Mark Huggett, 2010. "Human Capital Values and Returns: Bounds Implied By Earnings and Asset Returns Data," 2010 Meeting Papers 564, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  20. Campbell, John Y, 1996. "Understanding Risk and Return," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 298-345, April.
  21. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
  22. Baxter, M. & Jermann, U.J., 1993. "The International Diversification Puzzle is Worse than you Think," RCER Working Papers 350, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  23. Johansen, Soren, 1995. "Likelihood-Based Inference in Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774501, March.
  24. Eric French, 2000. "The labor supply response to (mismeasured but) predictable wage changes," Working Paper Series WP-00-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  25. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003. "An Empirical Analysis of the Risk Properties of Human Capital Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 948-964, June.
  26. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
  27. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "Earnings, Consumption and Lifecycle Choices," NBER Working Papers 15914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Luca Benzoni & Pierre Collin-Dufresne & Robert S. Goldstein, 2007. "Portfolio choice over the life-cycle when the stock and labor markets are cointegrated," Working Paper Series WP-07-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  29. Lee A. Lillard, 1975. "Inequality: Earnings vs. Human Wealth," NBER Working Papers 0080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Werner, Ingrid M., 1993. "Nontraded assets in incomplete markets : Pricing and portfolio choice," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1149-1168, June.
  31. Robert H. Haveman & Andrew Bershadker & Jonathan A. Schwabish, 2003. "Human Capital in the United States from 1975 to 2000: Patterns of Growth and Utilization," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number hcus, March.
  32. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David Wise, 2011. "The Composition and Drawdown of Wealth in Retirement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
  33. Lynch, Anthony W. & Tan, Sinan, 2011. "Labor income dynamics at business-cycle frequencies: Implications for portfolio choice," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 333-359, August.
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