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Author:Huggett, Mark 

Journal Article
Top Earners: Cross-Country Facts
We provide a common set of life cycle earnings statistics based on administrative data from the United States, Canada, Denmark, and Sweden. We find three qualitative patterns, which are common across countries. First, top-earnings inequality increases over the working lifetime. Second, the extreme right tail of the earnings distribution becomes thicker with age over the working lifetime. Third, top lifetime earners exhibit dramatic earnings growth over their working lifetime. Models of top earners should account for these three patterns and, importantly, for how they quantitatively differ across countries.
AUTHORS: Huggett, Mark; Nybom, Martin; Badel, Alejandro; Daly, Moira
DATE: 2018

Working Paper
Interpreting life-cycle inequality patterns as an efficient allocation: mission impossible?
Data on consumption, earnings, wages and hours dispersion over the life cycle is commonly viewed as incompatible with a Pareto efficient allocation. We show that a model with preference and wage shocks and full insurance produces the rise in consumption, wages and hours dispersion over the life cycle found in U.S. data. The efficient allocation model requires an increasing preference shifter dispersion profile to account for an increasing consumption dispersion profile. We examine U.S. data and find support for the view that the dispersion in preference shifters increases with age.
AUTHORS: Badel, Alejandro; Huggett, Mark
DATE: 2010

Discussion Paper
The one-sector growth model with idiosyncratic shocks
This paper investigates the one-sector growth model where agents experience idiosyncratic endowment shocks and face a borrowing constraint. It is shown that a steady-state capital level lies strictly above the steady state in the model without shocks. In addition, the capital stock increases monotonically when it is sufficiently far below a steady state. However, near a steady state there can be interesting (nonmonotonic) economic dynamics.
AUTHORS: Huggett, Mark
DATE: 1995

Discussion Paper
Understanding why high income households save more than low income households
This paper investigates why high income households in the United States save on average more than low income households in cross-section data. The three explanations considered are (1) age differences across households, (2) temporary earnings shocks, and (3) the structure of transfer payments. We use a calibrated life-cycle model to evaluate the quantitative importance of these explanations and find that age and the structure of transfers are quantitatively important in producing the cross-section pattern of United States savings rates. Temporary shocks are of secondary importance.
AUTHORS: Huggett, Mark; Ventura, Gustavo
DATE: 1995

Working Paper
Taxing top earners: a human capital perspective
We assess the consequences of substantially increasing the marginal tax rate on U.S. top earners using a human capital model. The top of the model Laffer curve occurs at a 53 percent top tax rate. Tax revenues and the tax rate at the top of the Laffer curve are smaller compared to an otherwise similar model that ignores the possibility of skill change in response to a tax reform. We also show that if one applies the methods used by Diamond and Saez (2011) to provide quantitative guidance for setting the tax rate on top earners to model data then the resulting tax rate exceeds the tax rate at the top of the model Laffer curve.
AUTHORS: Badel, Alejandro; Huggett, Mark
DATE: 2014-07-23

Working Paper
The Sufficient Statistic Approach: Predicting the Top of the Laffer Curve
We provide a formula for the tax rate at the top of the Laffer curve as a function of three elasticities. Our formula applies to static models and to steady states of dynamic models. One of the elasticities that enters our formula has been estimated in the elasticity of taxable income literature. We apply standard empirical methods from this literature to data produced by reforming the tax system in a model economy. We find that these standard methods underestimate the relevant elasticity in models with endogenous human capital accumulation.
AUTHORS: Badel, Alejandro; Huggett, Mark
DATE: 2015-11-10

Human capital values and returns: bounds implied by earnings and asset returns data
We provide theory for calculating bounds on both the value of an individual?s human capital and the return on an individual?s human capital, given knowledge of the process governing earnings and financial asset returns. We calculate bounds using U.S. data on male earnings and financial asset returns. The large idiosyncratic component of earnings risk implies that bounds on values and returns are quite loose. However, when aggregate shocks are the only source of earnings risk, both bounds are tight.
AUTHORS: Huggett, Mark; Kaplan, Greg
DATE: 2010


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