DP5322 | Precautionary Savings or Working Longer Hours?

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19/10/2005

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Abstract

This paper quantifies the macroeconomic implications of the lack of insurance against idiosyncratic labour market risk. I show that in a model economy calibrated to observed individual level data, households make ample use of work effort as a consumption smoothing mechanism. As a consequence, aggregate consumption is 0.6% lower, work effort is 18% higher and labour productivity is 12% lower than they would be in a complete markets setting. Not surprisingly, the welfare benefits of moving towards complete markets are very large. Accounting for the whole transition to the new complete markets steady state I find the welfare costs of market incompleteness above 16% of individual lifetime consumption.