Does Unemployment Risk Affect Business Cycle Dynamics?

69 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2020

See all articles by Sebastian Graves

Sebastian Graves

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Date Written: September 1, 2020

Abstract

In this paper, I show that the decline in household consumption during unemployment spells depends on both liquid and illiquid asset positions. I also provide evidence that unemployment spells predict the withdrawal of illiquid assets, particularly when households have few liquid assets. Motivated by these findings, I embed endogenous unemployment risk in a two-asset heterogeneous-agent New Keynesian model. The model is consistent with the above evidence and provides a new propagation mechanism for aggregate shocks due to a flight-to-liquidity that occurs when unemployment risk rises. This mechanism implies that unemployment insurance plays an important role as an automatic stabilizer, particularly when monetary policy is constrained.

Keywords: Heterogeneous-agent model, liquid and illiquid assets, Unemployment insurance, Unemployment risk

JEL Classification: E10, E24, E32, E62, J64

Suggested Citation

Graves, Sebastian, Does Unemployment Risk Affect Business Cycle Dynamics? (September 1, 2020). FRB International Finance Discussion Paper No. 1298, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3699101 or http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/IFDP.2020.1298

Sebastian Graves (Contact Author)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

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Washington, DC 20551
United States

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