Government

Human Capital Risk In Life-Cycle Economies

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Executive Summary

The author studies the effect of market incompleteness on the aggregate economy in a model where agents face idiosyncratic, uninsurable human capital investment risk. The environment is a general equilibrium lifecycle model with a version of a Ben-Porath (1967) human capital accumulation technology, modified to incorporate risk. A CARA-normal specification keeps endogenous decisions independent of individual shock realizations. The author studies stationary equilibria of calibrated cases in which idiosyncratic uninsurable risk arises from specialization risk and career risk. Specialization risk is such that both mean and variance of the return from training are increasing in the endogenous decision to invest in human capital.

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