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A Nonparametric Characterization of Income Uncertainty over the Lifecycle

Geng Li and James Feigenbaum ()

No 464, 2009 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics

Abstract: In addition, we show that income uncertainty exhibits a U-shaped profile over the lifecyle, with young and old households facing greater uncertainty than middle-aged households. This pattern is particularly pronounced for near and intermediate forecast horizons. Our results are robust to various sample and model specifications and hold with respect to both labor and total family income. As opposed to a unit-root process, we find that our nonparametric estimates are better replicated by an income process with highly persistent, autoregressive shocks that have age and horizon dependent variances.

Date: 2009
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