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What Do Labor and Consumption Data Jointly Tell About Labor Income Risk?


  • Anthony A Smith
  • Fatih Guvenen


This paper estimates a general stochastic process for labor income via indirect inference, by jointly using labor income data together with the information embedded in the dynamics of individual consumption. We extend earlier work in several directions. First, we do not restrict income shocks to follow a random walk, an assumption that has been made in previous studies that use consumption data to estimate income risk (Blundell and Preston (1998), Blundell, Pistaferri and Preston (2005) among others). Second, we use an auxiliary model for the indirect inference method that captures the rich dynamics of household consumption. To this end, we impute household consumption in PSID using the procedure developed in Blundell, Pistaferri and Preston (2005). Third, we estimate a general process that allows for heterogeneity in income growth rates. Thus, our approach allows us to bring both consumption and income data to distinguish between two alternative views of the income process: the random walk model (as in MaCurdy (1982), Abowd and Card (1989)) versus the profile heterogeneity model (as in Lillard and Weiss (1979), Baker (1997), Guvenen (2005))

Suggested Citation

  • Anthony A Smith & Fatih Guvenen, 2006. "What Do Labor and Consumption Data Jointly Tell About Labor Income Risk?," 2006 Meeting Papers 500, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:500

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Anton Braun & Huiyu Li & John Stachurski, 2009. "Computing Densities and Expectations in Stochastic Recursive Economies: Generalized Look-Ahead Techniques," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-620, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.

    More about this item


    Labor Income Risk; Consumption; Indirect Inference; Heterogenous Income Growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment


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