Creator: Guvenen, Fatih and Kuruscu, Burhanettin Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 427 Abstract:
In this paper, we construct a parsimonious overlapping-generations model of human capital accumulation and study its quantitative implications for the evolution of the U.S. wage distribution from 1970 to 2000. A key feature of the model is that individuals differ in their ability to accumulate human capital, which is the main source of wage inequality in this model. We examine the response of this model to skill-biased technical change (SBTC), which is modeled as an increase in the trend growth rate of the price of human capital starting in the early 1970s. The model displays behavior that is consistent with several important trends observed in the US data, including the rise in overall wage inequality; the fall and subsequent rise in the college premium, as well as the fact that this behavior was most pronounced for younger workers; the rise in within-group inequality; the stagnation in median wage growth; and the small rise in consumption inequality despite the large rise in wage inequality. We consider different scenarios regarding how individuals’ expectations evolve during SBTC. Specifically, we study the case where individuals immediately realize the advent of SBTC (perfect foresight), and the case where they initially underestimate the future growth of the price of human capital (pessimistic priors), but learn the truth in a Bayesian fashion over time. Lack of perfect foresight appears to have little effect on the main results of the paper. Overall, the model shows promise for explaining a diverse set of wage distribution trends observed since the 1970s in a unifying human capital framework.
Subject (JEL): J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, E25 - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution, J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Yang, Fang Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 638 Abstract:
This paper studies a quantitative dynamic general equilibrium life-cycle model where parents and their children are linked by bequests, both voluntary and accidental, and by the transmission of earnings ability. This model is able to match very well the empirical observation that households with similar lifetime incomes hold very different amounts of wealth at retirement. Income heterogeneity and borrowing constraints are essential in generating the variation in retirement wealth among low lifetime income households, while the existence of intergenerational links is crucial in explaining the heterogeneity in retirement wealth among high lifetime income households.
Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Ohanian, Lee E., Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina, and Wright, Mark L. J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 563 Abstract:
After World War II, international capital flowed into slow-growing Latin America rather than fast-growing Asia. This is surprising as, everything else equal, fast growth should imply high capital returns. This paper develops a capital flow accounting framework to quantify the role of different factor market distortions in producing these patterns. Surprisingly, we find that distortions in labor markets — rather than domestic or international capital markets — account for the bulk of these flows. Labor market distortions that indirectly depress investment incentives by lowering equilibrium labor supply explain two-thirds of observed flows, while improvement in these distortions over time accounts for much of Asia’s rapid growth.
Keyword: Labor markets, Domestic capital markets, Capital flows, and International capital markets Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, F21 - International Investment; Long-term Capital Movements, and J20 - Demand and Supply of Labor: General
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 307 Abstract:
We show how to decentralize constrained efficient allocations that arise from enforcement constraints between sovereign nations. In a pure exchange economy, these allocations can be decentralized with private agents acting competitively and taking as given government default decisions on foreign debt. In an economy with capital, these allocations can be decentralized if the government can tax capital income as well as default on foreign debt. The tax on capital income is needed to make private agents internalize a subtle externality. The decisions of the government can arise as an equilibrium of a dynamic game between governments.
Keyword: Sovereign debt, Risk-sharing, Default, Incomplete markets, Enforcement constraints, Sustainable equilibrium, and Decentralization Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, F30 - International Finance: General, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, D50 - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: General, and E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 621 Abstract:
Previous literature has shown that the study and characterization of constrained efficient allocations in economies with limited enforcement is useful to understand the limited risk sharing observed in many contexts, in particular between sovereign countries. In this paper we show that these constrained efficient allocations arise as equilibria in an economy in which private agents behave competitively, taking as given a set of taxes. We then show that these taxes, which end up limiting risk sharing, arise as an equilibrium of a dynamic game between governments. Our decentralization is different from the existing ones proposed in the literature. We find it intuitively appealing and we think it goes farther than the existing literature in endogenizing the primitive forces that lead to a lack of risk sharing in equilibrium.
Keyword: Sustainable equilibrium, Decentralization, Incomplete markets, Default, Enforcement constraints, Sovereign debt, and Risk-sharing Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, D50 - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: General, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: Yang, Fang Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 635 Abstract:
Micro data over the life cycle shows two different patterns of consumption of housing and non-housing goods: the consumption profile of non-housing goods is hump-shaped while the consumption profile for housing first increases monotonically and then flattens out. These patterns hold true at each consumption quartile. This paper develops a quantitative, dynamic general equilibrium model of life cycle behavior, which generates consumption profiles consistent with the observed data. Borrowing constraints are essential in explaining the accumulation of housing assets early in life, while transaction costs are crucial in generating the slow downsizing of the housing assets later in life. The bequest motives play a role in determining total life time wealth, but not the housing profile.
Keyword: Life cycle, Consumption, Housing, and Distribution Subject (JEL): J14 - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-labor Market Discrimination, R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Housing Demand, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Heathcote, Jonathan, Storesletten, Kjetil, and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 432 Abstract:
This paper develops a model with partial insurance against idiosyncratic wage shocks to quantify risk sharing, and to decompose inequality into life-cycle shocks versus initial heterogeneity in preferences and productivity. Closed-form solutions are obtained for equilibrium allocations and for moments of the joint distribution of consumption, hours, and wages. We prove identification and estimate the model with data from the CEX and the PSID over the period 1967–2006. We find that (i) 40% of permanent wage shocks pass through to consumption; (ii) the share of wage risk insured privately increased until the early 1980s and remained stable thereafter; (iii) life-cycle productivity shocks account for half of the cross-sectional variance of wages and earnings, but for much less of dispersion in consumption or hours worked.
Subject (JEL): E52 - Monetary Policy, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, E31 - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation, and E23 - Macroeconomics: Production
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J., Midrigan, Virgiliu, and Pastorino, Elena Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 536 Abstract:
During the Great Recession, regions of the United States that experienced the largest declines in household debt also experienced the largest drops in consumption, employment, and wages. Employment declines were larger in the nontradable sector and for firms that were facing the worst credit conditions. Motivated by these findings, we develop a search and matching model with credit frictions that affect both consumers and firms. In the model, tighter debt constraints raise the cost of investing in new job vacancies and thus reduce worker job finding rates and employment. Two key features of our model, on-the-job human capital accumulation and consumer-side credit frictions, are critical to generating sizable drops in employment. On-the-job human capital accumulation makes the flows of benefits from posting vacancies long-lived and so greatly amplifies the sensitivity of such investments to credit frictions. Consumer-side credit frictions further magnify these effects by leading wages to fall only modestly. We show that the model reproduces well the salient cross-regional features of the U.S. data during the Great Recession.
Keyword: Search and matching, Human capital, Employment, and Debt constraints Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, J21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure, and J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
Creator: Krueger, Dirk and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 363 Abstract:
Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, we first document that the recent increase in income inequality in the United States has not been accompanied by a corresponding rise in consumption inequality. Much of this divergence is due to different trends in within-group inequality, which has increased significantly for income but little for consumption. We then develop a simple framework that allows us to analytically characterize how within-group income inequality affects consumption inequality in a world in which agents can trade a full set of contingent consumption claims, subject to endogenous constraints emanating from the limited enforcement of intertemporal contracts (as in Kehoe and Levine, 1993). Finally, we quantitatively evaluate, in the context of a calibrated general equilibrium production economy, whether this setup, or alternatively a standard incomplete markets model (as in Aiyagari, 1994), can account for the documented stylized consumption inequality facts from the U.S. data.
Keyword: Risk Sharing, Consumption Inequality, and Limited Enforcement Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions, D63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement, G22 - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies, and D91 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making