Job Stability, Earnings Dynamics, and Life-Cycle Savings

84 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2020

See all articles by Moritz Kuhn

Moritz Kuhn

University of Bonn

Gasper Ploj

University of Bonn

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2020

Abstract

Labor markets are characterized by large heterogeneity in job stability. Some workers hold lifetime jobs, whereas others cycle repeatedly in and out of employment. This paper explores the economic consequences of such heterogeneity. Using Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) data, we document a systematic positive relationship between job stability and wealth accumulation. Per dollar of income, workers with more stable careers hold more wealth. We also develop a life-cycle consumption-saving model with heterogeneity in job stability that is jointly consistent with empirical labor market mobility, earnings, consumption, and wealth dynamics. Using the structural model, we explore the consequences of heterogeneity in job stability at the individual and macroeconomic level. At the individual level, we find that a bad start to the labor market leaves long-lasting scars. The income and consumption level for a worker who starts working life from an unstable job is, even 25 years later, 5 percent lower than that of a worker who starts with a stable job. For the macroeconomy, we find welfare gains of 1.6 percent of lifetime consumption for labor market entrants from a secular decline in U.S. labor market dynamism.

JEL Classification: E21, E24, J64

Suggested Citation

Kuhn, Moritz and Ploj, Gasper, Job Stability, Earnings Dynamics, and Life-Cycle Savings (November 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15460, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3737593

Moritz Kuhn (Contact Author)

University of Bonn ( email )

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Gasper Ploj

University of Bonn

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

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