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Male Earnings Volatility in LEHD before, during, and after the Great Recession

Kevin L. McKinney and John Abowd ()

Papers from arXiv.org

Abstract: This paper is part of a coordinated collection of papers on prime-age male earnings volatility. Each paper produces a similar set of statistics for the same reference population using a different primary data source. Our primary data source is the Census Bureau's Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) infrastructure files. Using LEHD data from 1998 to 2016, we create a well-defined population frame to facilitate accurate estimation of temporal changes comparable to designed longitudinal samples of people. We show that earnings volatility, excluding increases during recessions, has declined over the analysis period, a finding robust to various sensitivity analyses. Although we find volatility is declining, the effect is not homogeneous, particularly for workers with tenuous labor force attachment for whom volatility is increasing. These "not stable" workers have earnings volatility approximately 30 times larger than stable workers, but more important for earnings volatility trends we observe a large increase in the share of stable employment from 60% in 1998 to 67% in 2016, which we show to largely be responsible for the decline in overall earnings volatility. To further emphasize the importance of not stable and/or low earning workers we also conduct comparisons with the PSID and show how changes over time in the share of workers at the bottom tail of the cross-sectional earnings distributions can produce either declining or increasing earnings volatility trends.

Date: 2020-08, Revised 2020-08
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http://arxiv.org/pdf/2008.00253 Latest version (application/pdf)

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Working Paper: Male Earnings Volatility in LEHD before, during, and after the Great Recession (2020) Downloads
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