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NBER Working Papers and Publications
|January 2015||What Do Data on Millions of U.S. Workers Reveal about Life-Cycle Earnings Risk?|
with Fatih Guvenen, Serdar Ozkan, Jae Song: w20913
We study the evolution of individual labor earnings over the life cycle using a large panel data set of earnings histories drawn from U.S. administrative records. Using fully nonparametric methods, our analysis reaches two broad conclusions. First, earnings shocks display substantial deviations from lognormality---the standard assumption in the incomplete markets literature. In particular, earnings shocks display strong negative skewness and extremely high kurtosis---as high as 30 compared with 3 for a Gaussian distribution. The high kurtosis implies that in a given year, most individuals experience very small earnings shocks, and a small but non-negligible number experience very large shocks. Second, these statistical properties vary significantly both over the life cycle and with the ear...
|October 2013||Unemployment Benefits and Unemployment in the Great Recession: The Role of Macro Effects|
with Marcus Hagedorn, Iourii Manovskii, Kurt Mitman: w19499
Equilibrium labor market theory suggests that unemployment benefit extensions affect unemployment by impacting both job search decisions by the unemployed and job creation decisions by employers. The existing empirical literature focused on the former effect only. We develop a new methodology necessary to incorporate the measurement of the latter effect. Implementing this methodology in the data, we find that benefit extensions raise equilibrium wages and lead to a sharp contraction in vacancy creation, employment, and a rise in unemployment.