Land of Opportunity: Economic Mobility in the United States
Authors Jessie Romero and Kartik Athreya interpret data that suggest economic mobility has decreased in recent years. Many factors contribute to mobility, but for most people advancement depends on opportunities to obtain human capital---opportunities that are not as good for children in poor families. Initiatives that focus on early childhood education seem to yield high returns on investment. Their feasibility on a large scale is unknown, but they may have the potential to help the United States achieve a more inclusive prosperity.
The spice of life : allowing for heterogeneity in macro models
Macroeconomic models often make simplifying assumptions that suppress differences between people. Changing these assumptions and allowing for "heterogeneity" can enrich analysis of both observed data and policy tradeoffs. Modern macroeconomics has made significant progress in this area, sometimes significantly altering economists' views and policy prescriptions.
Debt default and the insurance of labor income risks
In this article, we evaluate in detail the role of debt forgiveness in altering the transmission of labor income risk in the absence of catastrophic out-of-pocket "expense shocks" used in the literature on consumer default. The experiments we present can be thought of as: "If we insure the out-of-pocket expenses that constitute expenditure shocks, is there still a role of debt relief as a form of insurance against 'pure labor income risk'?" We address this question by studying a range of specifications for households' attitudes toward the intra- and intertemporal properties of income ...
Unemployment insurance and personal bankruptcy
Stock Market Investment: The Role of Human Capital
Portfolio choice models counter factually predict (or advise) almost universal equity market participation and a high share for equity in wealth early in life. Empirically consistent predictions have proved elusive without participation costs, informational frictions, or non standard preferences. We demonstrate that once human capital investment is allowed, standard theory predicts portfolio choices much closer to those empirically observed. Two intuitive mechanisms are at work: For participation, human capital returns exceed financial asset returns for most young households and, as ...
The Evolving Relationship between COVID-19 and Financial Distress.
During most of the COVID-19 pandemic, regions with high financial distress saw disproportionately more infections and deaths than regions with low financial distress. As of February 2021, cumulative infections appear more evenly distributed. However, total deaths remain higher in financially distressed regions.
Earned income tax credit recipients: income, marginal tax rates, wealth, and credit constraints
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has evolved into the largest anti-poverty program in the United States by providing tax credits for low and moderate income working families. In this paper, we describe the characteristics of EITC recipients at various ages using Current Population Survey data. In addition, we discuss the relevance of the EITC in affecting marginal income tax rates in the United States and discuss the effects of the EITC on household labor supply decisions. Lastly, using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, we estimate wealth distributions for EITC recipients and ...
COVID-19 and Financial Distress: Vulnerability to Infection and Death
Although COVID-19 initially spread faster in areas with low financial distress, evidence suggests that infections may spread most rapidly in highly financially distressed areas moving forward.
The Payoff from the Earned Income Tax Credit