Working Paper

Comparative advantage and risk premia in labor markets

Abstract: Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), we document a significant and positive association between earnings risk (both permanent and transitory) and the level of earnings across 21 industries. We propose an equilibrium framework to analyze the interplay between earnings volatility and the distribution of skills across workers in determining a relationship between earnings and risk. We use the model to decompose how much of the empirical correlation represents compensation for risk and how much represents selection. The positive association between permanent risk and earnings is compensation for risk, but selection is responsible for the observed relationship between temporary risk and the level of earnings.

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Part of Series: FRB Atlanta Working Paper

Publication Date: 2012

Number: 2012-15