NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Risk, Unemployment, and the Stock Market: A Rare-Event-Based Explanation of Labor Market Volatility

Mete Kilic, Jessica A. Wachter

NBER Working Paper No. 21575
Issued in September 2015, Revised in May 2016
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing, Economic Fluctuations and Growth

What is the driving force behind the cyclical behavior of unemployment and vacancies? What is the relation between job-creation incentives of firms and stock market valuations? We answer these questions in a model with time-varying risk, modeled as a small and variable probability of an economic disaster. A high probability implies greater risk and lower future growth, lowering the incentives of firms to invest in hiring. During periods of high risk, stock market valuations are low and unemployment rises. The model thus explains volatility in equity and labor markets, and the relation between the two.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21575

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