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Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy

Tom Krebs (), Moritz Kuhn and Mark Wright ()

No 9228, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: We use data from the Survey of Consumer Finance and Survey of Income Program Participation to show that young households with children are under-insured against the risk that an adult member of the household dies. We develop a tractable macroeconomic model with human capital risk, age-dependent returns to human capital investment, and endogenous borrowing constraints due to the limited pledgeability of human capital. We show analytically that, consistent with the life insurance data, in equilibrium young households are borrowing constrained and under-insured. A calibrated version of the model can quantitatively account for the life-cycle variation of life-insurance holdings, financial wealth, earnings, and consumption inequality observed in the US data. Our analysis implies that a reform that makes consumer bankruptcy more costly, like the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, leads to a substantial increase in the volume of both credit and insurance.

Keywords: limited enforcement; human capital risk; life insurance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E21 E24 D52 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 116 pages
Date: 2015-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dge, nep-hrm, nep-ias, nep-lma and nep-mac
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed

Published in: American Economic Review, 2015, 105 (11), 3223-3272

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Related works:
Journal Article: Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy (2011) Downloads
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