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Author:Kuhn, Moritz 

Journal Article
The College Wealth Divide Continues to Grow

The college wealth premium has increased threefold since the 1970s.
Economic Synopses , Issue 1

Report
Monetary Policy and Racial Inequality

This paper aims at an improved understanding of the relationship between monetary policy and racial inequality. We investigate the distributional effects of monetary policy in a unified framework, linking monetary policy shocks both to earnings and wealth differentials between black and white households. Specifically, we show that, although a more accommodative monetary policy increases employment of black households more than white households, the overall effects are small. At the same time, an accommodative monetary policy shock exacerbates the wealth difference between black and white ...
Staff Reports , Paper 959

Working Paper
Which Ladder to Climb? Wages of Workers by Job, Plant, and Education

Wages grow but also become more unequal as workers age. Using German administrative data, we largely attribute both life-cycle facts to one driving force: some workers progress in hierarchy to jobs with more responsibility, complexity, and independence. In short, they climb the career ladder. Climbing the career ladder explains 50% of wage growth and virtually all of rising wage dispersion. The increasing gender wage gap by age parallels a rising hierarchy gap. Our findings suggest that wage dynamics are shaped by the organization of production, which itself likely depends on technology, the ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 15

Working Paper
Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy

We use data from the Survey of Consumer Finance and Survey of Income Program Participation to show that young households with children are under-insured against the risk that an adult member of the household dies. We develop a tractable macroeconomic model with human capital risk, age-dependent returns to human capital investment, and endogenous borrowing constraints due to the limited pledgeability of human capital (limited contract enforcement). We show analytically that, consistent with the life insurance data, in equilibrium young households are borrowing constrained and under-insured ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2014-9

Report
Modigliani Meets Minsky: Inequality, Debt, and Financial Fragility in America, 1950-2016

This paper studies the secular increase in U.S. household debt and its relation to growing income inequality and financial fragility. We exploit a new household-level data set that covers the joint distributions of debt, income, and wealth in the United States over the past seven decades. The data show that increased borrowing by middle-class families with low income growth played a central role in rising indebtedness. Debt-to-income ratios have risen most dramatically for households between the 50th and 90th percentiles of the income distribution. While their income growth was low, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 924

Working Paper
Income and Wealth Inequality in America, 1949-2016

This paper introduces a new long-run dataset based on archival data from historical waves of the Survey of Consumer Finances. The household-level data allow us to study the joint distributions of household income and wealth since 1949. We expose the central importance of portfolio composition and asset prices for wealth dynamics in postwar America. Asset prices shift the wealth distribution because the composition and leverage of household portfolios differ systematically along the wealth distribution. Middle-class portfolios are dominated by housing, while rich households predominantly own ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 9

Journal Article
The College Wealth Divide: Education and Inequality in America, 1956-2016

Using new long-run microdata, this article studies wealth and income trends of households with a college degree (college households) and without a college degree (noncollege households) in the United States since 1956. We document the emergence of a substantial college wealth premium since the 1980s, which is considerably larger than the college income premium. Over the past four decades, the wealth of college households has tripled. By contrast, the wealth of noncollege households has barely grown in real terms over the same period. Part of the rising wealth gap can be traced back to ...
Review , Volume 102 , Issue 1 , Pages 19-49

Working Paper
Monetary Policy and Racial Inequality

This paper aims at an improved understanding of the relationship between monetary policy and racial inequality. We investigate the distributional effects of monetary policy in a unified framework, linking monetary policy shocks both to earnings and wealth differentials between black and white households. Specifically, we show that, although a more accommodative monetary policy increases employment of black households more than white households, the overall effects are small. At the same time, an accommodative monetary policy shock exacerbates the wealth difference between black and white ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 45

Journal Article
2013 Update on the U.S. Earnings, Income, and Wealth Distributional Facts: A View from Macroeconomics

This article is largely a description of the earnings, income, and wealth distributions in the United States in 2013 as measured by the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). We describe facts that lie at the joint distribution of the three variables. We look at inequality in relation to age, education, employer status, and marital status. We discuss the evolution of our results over the past 25 years (1989 - 2013), emphasizing the role played by the Great Recession. We pay special attention to the degree of income and wealth concentration at the top and discuss what the use of the SCF data can ...
Quarterly Review , Issue April , Pages 1-75

Working Paper
Insurance in Human Capital Models with Limited Enforcement

This paper develops a tractable human capital model with limited enforceability of contracts. The model economy is populated by a large number of long-lived, risk-averse households with homothetic preferences who can invest in risk-free physical capital and risky human capital. Households have access to a complete set of credit and insurance contracts, but their ability to use the available financial instruments is limited by the possibility of default (limited contract enforcement). We provide a convenient equilibrium characterization that facilitates the computation of recursive equilibria ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2016-8

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