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The Economic Security Index: A New Measure for Research and Policy Analysis

Jacob S. Hacker (), Gregory Alain Huber (), Austin Nichols, Philipp Rehm (), Mark Schlesinger (), Robert Valletta () and Stuart Craig ()
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Jacob S. Hacker: Yale University
Gregory Alain Huber: Yale University
Philipp Rehm: Ohio State University
Mark Schlesinger: Yale University
Stuart Craig: University of Pennsylvania

No 6946, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: This paper presents the Economic Security Index (ESI), a new, more comprehensive measure of economic insecurity. By combining data from multiple surveys, we create an integrated measure of volatility in available household resources, accounting for fluctuations in income and out-of-pocket medical expenses, as well as financial wealth sufficient to buffer against these shocks. We find that insecurity has risen steadily since the mid-1980s for virtually all subgroups of Americans, albeit with cyclical ups and downs. We also find, however, that there is substantial disparity in the degree to which different groups are exposed to economic risk. As the ESI derives from a data-independent conceptual foundation, it can be measured using different data sources. We find that the degree and disparity by which insecurity has risen is robust across these sources.

Keywords: wealth; volatility; household income; medical spending (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 I14 J11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 56 pages
Date: 2012-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pke
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Published in: Review of Income and Wealth, 2014, 60 (S1)

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Journal Article: The Economic Security Index: A New Measure for Research and Policy Analysis (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: The Economic Security Index: a new measure for research and policy analysis (2012) Downloads
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