NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Cash-on-Hand and Competing Models of Intertemporal Behavior: New Evidence from the Labor Market

David Card, Raj Chetty, Andrea Weber

NBER Working Paper No. 12639
Issued in October 2006
NBER Program(s):   AG   EFG   LS   PE

This paper presents new tests of the permanent income hypothesis and other widely used models of household behavior using data from the labor market. We estimate the "excess sensitivity" of job search behavior to cash-on-hand using sharp discontinuities in eligibility for severance pay and extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in Austria. Analyzing data for over one-half million job losers, we obtain three empirical results: (1) a lump-sum severance payment equal to two months of earnings reduces the job-finding rate by 8-12% on average; (2) an extension of the potential duration of UI benefits from 20 weeks to 30 weeks similarly lowers job-finding rates in the first 20 weeks of search by 5-9%; and (3) increases in the duration of search induced by the two programs have little or no effect on subsequent job match quality. Using a search theoretic model, we show that estimates of the relative effect of severance pay and extended benefits can be used to calibrate and test a wide set of intertemporal models. Our estimates of this ratio are inconsistent with the predictions of a standard permanent income model, as well as naive "rule of thumb" behavior. The representative job searcher in our data is 70% of the way between the permanent income benchmark and credit-constrained behavior in terms of sensitivity to cash-on-hand.

download in pdf format
   (735 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (735 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12639

Published: David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Cash-On-Hand and Competing Models of Intertemporal Behavior: New Evidence from the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1511-1560, November.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Card, Chetty, and Weber w12893 The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?
Chetty w13967 Moral Hazard vs. Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance
Lee and Lemieux w14723 Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics
Chetty w14399 Sufficient Statistics for Welfare Analysis: A Bridge Between Structural and Reduced-Form Methods
Goldin h0058 Labor Markets in the Twentieth Century
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us