Essays in labor economics
- This dissertation studies micro and macro consumption and labor supply behavior. The first two essays study the response of consumption to income shocks and to job loss events, and draw implications to social insurance design. The last two essays turn to the macro picture, studying the behavior of aggregate consumption in the Great Recession, and exploring sources of the high unemployment observed during and in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The first essay is motivated by the documented empirical fact that job loss is associated with both pre- and post-job loss declines in hourly wages and earnings. Using recent data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I show that consumption dynamics mirror these wage dynamics. To account for the consumption dynamics in the data I introduce a correlation between individual hourly wages and job loss into a life-cycle model with self insurance (through savings), social insurance, and endogenous unemployment durations. I find that this model is able to replicate the joint dynamics of wages, job loss and consumption that we observe in the data. I then show that accounting for the correlation between wages and job loss has important implications for the optimal design of unemployment insurance (UI). The consumption smoothing benefits of unemployment insurance are larger, and the cost of insurance lower, than suggested when this correlation is absent. Thus, while a model that assumes away these correlations yields optimal UI replacement rates close to zero, a model that incorporates the correlations predicts optimal rates of 0.54, slightly higher than the current US level. In the second essay we examine the link between wage inequality and consumption inequality using a life cycle model that incorporates household consumption and family labor supply decisions. We focus on the importance of family labor supply as an insurance mechanism to wage shocks and find strong evidence of smoothing of male's and female's permanent shocks to wages. Once family labor supply, assets and taxes are properly accounted for there is little evidence of additional insurance. In the third essay we review the evidence on changes in consumer spending during the Great Recession. We point out three distinctive features of consumption in the Great Recession. First, the drop in consumption was deep and persistent. Consumption per capita fell monotonically throughout the recession showing an overall decline greater than 4 percent from peak to trough. Spending on nondurables and (especially) services fell significantly compared to previous recessions. Second, consumption fell more than disposable income, partly as a result of an increase in government transfers to households. Third, the varying impact the recession has had across age, race, education and wealth groups resulted in a decline in consumption inequality. The last essay studies the role of geographic mobility in explaining the high levels of unemployment during and after the Great Recession. We find that the effect of mobility is always small: Using pre-recession mobility rates, decreased mobility can account for only an 11 basis points increase in the unemployment rate over the period. Using dynamics of renter geographical mobility in this period to calculate homeowner counterfactual mobility, delivers similar results. Using the highest mobility rate observed in the data, reduced mobility accounts for only a 33 basis points increase in the unemployment rate.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Saporta, Eksten Itay
|Stanford University, Department of Economics.
|Bloom, Nick, 1973-
|Bloom, Nick, 1973-
|Statement of responsibility
|Itay Saporta Eksten.
|Submitted to the Department of Economics.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2014.
- © 2014 by Itay Saporta Eksten
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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