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Jel Classification:D91 

Working Paper
Health Shocks, Health Insurance, Human Capital, and the Dynamics of Earnings and Health

We specify and calibrate a life-cycle model of labor supply and savings incorporating health shocks and medical treatment decisions. Our model features endogenous wage formation via human capital accumulation, employer-sponsored health insurance, and means-tested social insurance. We use the model to study the effects of health shocks on health, labor supply and earnings, and to assess how health shocks contribute to earnings inequality. We also simulate provision of public insurance to agents who lack employer-sponsored insurance. The public insurance program substantially increases medical ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 080

Working Paper
Credit, bankruptcy, and aggregate fluctuations

We ask two questions related to how access to credit affects the nature of business cycles. First, does the standard theory of unsecured credit account for the high volatility and procyclicality of credit and the high volatility and countercyclicality of bankruptcy filings found in U.S. data? Yes, it does, but only if we explicitly model recessions as displaying countercyclical earnings risk (i.e., rather than having all households fare slightly worse than normal during recessions, we ensure that more households than normal fare very poorly). Second, does access to credit smooth aggregate ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-31

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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-17

Working Paper
Health-care reform or labor market reform? a quantitative analysis of the Affordable Care Act

An equilibrium model with ?rm and worker heterogeneity is constructed to analyze labor market and welfare implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Our model implies a signi?cant reduction in the uninsured rate from 22.6 percent to 5.6 percent. {{p}} The model predicts a moderate positive welfare gain from the ACA, due to redistribution of income through Health Insurance Subsidies at the Exchange as well as Medicaid expansion. About 2.1 million more part-time jobs are created under the ACA, in expense of 1.6 million full-time jobs, mainly because the link between ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 15-10

Working Paper
Reverse mortgage loans: a quantitative analysis

Supersedes Working Paper 13-27. Reverse mortgage loans (RMLs) allow older homeowners to borrow against housing wealth without moving. Despite growth in this market, only 2.1% of eligible homeowners had RMLs in 2011. In this paper, the authors analyze reverse mortgages in a calibrated life-cycle model of retirement. The average welfare gain from RMLs is $885 per homeowner. The authors? model implies that low-income, low-wealth, and poor-health households benefit the most, consistent with empirical evidence. Bequest motives, nursing-home-move risk, house price risk, and loan costs all ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-27

Working Paper
Confidence, Financial Literacy and Investment in Risky Assets: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

We employ recent Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) microdata from the US to analyze the impacts of confidence in one’s own financial knowledge, confidence in the economy, and objective financial literacy on investment in risky financial assets (equity and bonds) on both the extensive and intensive margins. Controlling for a rich set of covariates including risk aversion, we find that objective financial literacy is positively related to investment in risky assets as well as debt securities. Moreover, confidence in own financial skills additionally increases the probability of holding risky ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-004

Working Paper
Explaining Intergenerational Mobility: The Role of Fertility and Family Transfers

Poor families have more children and transfer less resources to them. This suggests that family decisions about fertility and transfers dampen intergenerational mobility. To evaluate the quantitative importance of this mechanism, we extend the standard heterogeneous agent life cycle model with earnings risk and credit constraints to allow for endogenous fertility, family transfers, and education. The model, estimated to the US in the 2000s, implies that a counterfactual flat income-fertility profile would-through the equalization of initial conditions-increase intergenerational mobility by ...
Working Papers , Paper 2018-011

Working Paper
Scarcity and Intertemporal Choice

Scarcity is a ubiquitous experience, and existing evidence largely suggests that people become more myopic when they feel their resources are scarce. Importantly, evidence for this proposition comes primarily from contexts in which scarcity threatens needs that require resources imminently. The current work examines instances in which scarcity threatens needs along a broader time horizon. Archival data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Consumer Finance Institute and five pre-registered studies (N = 7,728) show that the time horizon of threatened needs is an important ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-27

Working Paper
Scarred Consumption

We show that prior lifetime experiences can "scar" consumers. Consumers who have lived through times of high unemployment exhibit persistent pessimism about their future financial situation and spend significantly less, controlling for the standard life-cycle consumption factors, even though their actual future income is uncorrelated with past experiences. Due to their experience-induced frugality, scarred consumers build up more wealth. We use a stochastic lifecycle model to show that the negative relationship between past experiences and consumption cannot be generated by financial ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1259

Journal Article
When the Music Stops: Slowing Wage Growth May Lead to More Delinquent Debt

Subprime auto debt has risen nearly 10 percent above pre-pandemic levels, and delinquency rates have increased despite high wage growth in the economy. Historically, high wage growth has been associated with lower transitions into delinquency. Should wage growth slow, delinquency rates would likely rise even higher, especially among subprime borrowers.
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