Consumption and time use responses to unemployment

“Do unemployed people self-insure their loss of income?”

Unemployment often has major consequences for income and pension accrual. To what extent can unemployed people absorb this income drop by increased home production? And do younger and older workers differ in this regard? Knowing the answers to these questions is important for determining the optimal risky share of pension wealth over the life cycle. That is because the ability to absorb a loss of income  increases an individual’s risk capacity.

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Key Takeaways for the Industry

  • Risks implied by unemployment and other events that can negatively affect income and wealth accumulation should be measured more completely. Therefore, this study shows the results on home production.
  • Basic models often assume a certain future income. This means that pension wealth of young people can be invested relatively risky. However, job uncertainty and the absence of substitution of expenditures by home production (in case of unemployment) flattens the  optimal age profile of the optimal risky share of pension wealth.


Want to know more?

Read the paper ‘Consumption and time use responses to unemployment’ by Jim Been ¹, Eduard Suari-Andreu ¹, Marike Knoef ¹ and Rob Alessie² (¹Leiden University, ²University of Groningen).

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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