Creator: Guvenen, Fatih and Rendall, Michelle Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 704 Abstract:
In this paper, we study the role of education as insurance against a bad marriage. Historically, due to disparities in earning power and education across genders, married women often found themselves in an economically vulnerable position, and had to suffer one of two fates in a bad marriage: either they get divorced (assuming it is available) and struggle as low-income single mothers, or they remain trapped in the marriage. In both cases, education can provide a route to emancipation for women. To investigate this idea, we build and estimate an equilibrium search model with education, marriage/divorce/remarriage, and household labor supply decisions. A key feature of the model is that women bear a larger share of the divorce burden, mainly because they are more closely tied to their children relative to men. Our focus on education is motivated by the fact that divorce laws typically allow spouses to keep the future returns from their human capital upon divorce (unlike their physical assets), making education a good insurance against divorce risk. However, as women further their education, the earnings gap between spouses shrinks, leading to more unstable marriages and, in turn, further increasing demand for education. The framework generates powerful amplification mechanisms, which lead to a large rise in divorce rates and a decline in marriage rates (similar to those observed in the US data) from relatively modest exogenous driving forces. Further, in the model, women overtake men in college attainment during the 1990s, a feature of the data that has proved challenging to explain. Our counterfactual experiments indicate that the divorce law reform of the 1970s played an important role in all of these trends, explaining more than one-quarter of college attainment rate of women post-1970s and one-half of the rise in labor supply for married women.
Keyword: Divorce law reform, Marriage, College-gender gap, Divorce, Female labor supply, and Remarriage Subject (JEL): D13 - Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, and J12 - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
Creator: Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 462 Abstract:
This appendix contains seven sections. Section A reports results from running regressions of labor earnings on GDP using data from the PSID, for comparison with the results using HRS data in the body of the paper. Section B examines the relationship between family income, aggregate shocks, and risk preferences in the PSID. Section C gives technical details on the Markov Chain Monte Carlo estimation employed in table 1 of the paper and reports the complete parameter estimates for the regressions summarized in that table. Section D reports results when the relationship between earnings and aggregate shocks is estimated with individual-specific coecients rather than common coecients for each risk-tolerance group. Section E reports results comparable to table 1 of the paper and table D.1 of this appendix using only Social Security covered earnings instead of the combination of Social Security and W-2 earnings. Section F reports robustness checks for tables 2 and 3 of the paper under alternative definitions of the household and the consumption and income variables. Section G reports robustness checks for tables 2 and 3 under an alternative definition of the leisure variable.
Keyword: Heterogeneity, Imperfect insurance, Risk preferences, and Risk sharing Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics : Consumption, saving, production, employment, and investment - Consumption ; Saving ; Wealth and E24 - Macroeconomics : Consumption, saving, production, employment, and investment - Employment ; Unemployment ; Wages ; Intergenerational income distribution ; Aggregate human capital
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Midrigan, Virgiliu Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 413 Abstract:
Recent studies say prices change about every four months. Economists have interpreted this high frequency as evidence against the importance of sticky prices for the real effects of monetary policy. Theory implies that this interpretation is correct if most price changes are regular, but not if most are temporary, as in the data. Temporary changes have a striking feature: after such a change, the nominal price tends to return exactly to its preexisting level. We study versions of Calvo and menu cost models that replicate this feature. Both models predict that the degree of aggregate price stickiness is determined mostly by the frequency of regular price changes, not by the combined frequency of temporary and regular price changes. Since regular prices are sticky in the data, the models predict a substantial degree of aggregate price stickiness even though micro prices change frequently. In particular, the aggregate price level in our models is as sticky as in standard models in which micro prices change about once a year. In this sense, prices are sticky after all.
Keyword: Menu costs, Sticky prices, and Sales Subject (JEL): E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data)
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 546 Abstract:
We study transition in a model in which the process of moving workers from matches in the state sector to new matches in the private sector takes time and involves uncertainty. When there are incentive problems in this rematching process, the optimal scheme may involve forced layoffs, involuntary unemployment, and a recession.
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih, Kaplan, Greg, and Song, Jae Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 716 Abstract:
We analyze changes in the gender structure at the top of the earnings distribution in the United States over the last 30 years using a 10% sample of individual earnings histories from the Social Security Administration. Despite making large inroads, females still constitute a small proportion of the top percentiles: the glass ceiling, albeit a thinner one, remains. We measure the contribution of changes in labor force participation, changes in the persistence of top earnings, and changes in industry and age composition to the change in the gender composition of top earners. A large proportion of the increased share of females among top earners is accounted for by the mending of, what we refer to as, the paper floor – the phenomenon whereby female top earners were much more likely than male top earners to drop out of the top percentiles. We also provide new evidence at the top of the earnings distribution for both genders: the rising share of top earnings accruing to workers in the Finance and Insurance industry, the relative transitory status of top earners, the emergence of top earnings gender gaps over the life cycle, and gender differences among lifetime top earners.
Keyword: Top earners, Paper floor, Industry, Gender gap, and Glass ceiling Subject (JEL): G10 - General Financial Markets: General (includes Measurement and Data), J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Altug, Sumru and Miller, Robert A. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 341 Abstract:
This paper investigates the role of aggregate shocks on household consumption and labor supply. It posits, estimates and tests a model where the equilibrium behavior of agents sometimes leads them to locate on the boundary of their respective choices sets. The framework is rich enough to nest much previous empirical work on life cycle labor supply and consumption based asset pricing. It also yields a structural interpretation of wage regressions on unemployment. An important feature of our model is that markets are complete. Consequently, aggregate shocks only enter through two price sequences, namely real wages, and a sequence comprising weighted prices for future contingent consumption claims which are ultimately realized. We examine the properties of this latter sequence, whose elements may be represented as mappings from real wages and aggregate dividends.
Our empirical findings may be grouped into three. First, aggregate shocks play a significant role in determining the choices people make. Second, we reject for males some of the restrictions implicit in structural interpretations of wage unemployment regressions. Moreover when these restrictions are imposed, we find wages are countercyclical, but cannot reject the null hypothesis of no effect. Third, the null hypothesis that markets are complete is not invariably rejected. However, the orthogonality conditions associated with the asset pricing equation are rejected, even though our specification of preferences incorporates types of heterogeneity which violate the necessary conditions for aggregating to a representative agent formulation. Finally, we reject the cross-equation restrictions between the labor supply of spouses implied by equilibrium behavior.
Keyword: Complete markets, Tests of orthogonality conditions, Labor supply and consumption, Asset returns data, Nonseparability, Simple factor structure, and Panel data