Countercyclical Income Risk and Portfolio Choices: Evidence from Sweden
42 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2020 Last revised: 7 Oct 2020
Date Written: May 4, 2020
Using Swedish administrative panel data, we show that workers facing higher left-tail income risk when equity markets perform poorly are less likely to participate in the stock market and, conditional on participation, have lower equity shares. We call this measure of income risk "cyclical skewness'' and show that it is a better predictor of equity holdings than other income risk measures such as variance, covariance, and counter-cyclical volatility. In line with theory, our findings are stronger at the beginning of the life-cycle, are not significant for individuals with substantial financial wealth, and are stronger when we focus on permanent income shocks. Finally, within their risky portfolio, workers put less weight on securities generating negative returns when their own income risk increases.
Keywords: Household Finance, Labor Income Risk, Portfolio Choices
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