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Optimal Social Insurance and Rising Labor Market Risk
This paper analyzes the optimal response of the social insurance system to a rise in labor market risk. To this end, we develop a tractable macroeconomic model with risk-free physical capital, risky human capital (labor market risk) and unobservable effort choice affecting the distribution of human capital shocks (moral hazard). We show that constrained optimal allocations are simple in the sense that they can be found by solving a static social planner problem. We further show that constrained optimal allocations are the equilibrium allocations of a market economy in which the government ...
Understanding Earnings Dispersion
How much someone earns is an important determinant of many significant decisions over the course of a lifetime. Therefore, understanding how and why earnings are dispersed across individuals is central to understanding dispersion in a wide range of areas such as durable and non-durable consumption expenditures, debt, hours worked, and even health. Drawing on a recent New York Fed staff report "What Do Data on Millions of U.S. Workers Reveal about Life-Cycle Earnings Risks?", this blog post investigates the nature of earnings inequality over a lifetime. It finds that earnings are subject ...
Expecting the Unexpected: Job Losses and Household Spending
Unemployment risk constitutes one of the most significant sources of uncertainty facing workers in the United States. A large body of work has carefully documented that job loss may have long-term effects on one’s career, depressing earnings by as much as 20 percent after fifteen to twenty years. Given the severity of a job loss for earnings, an important question is how much such an event affects one’s standard of living during a spell of unemployment. This blog post explores how unemployment and expectations of job loss interact to affect household spending.