Mete Kilic, Jessica A. Wachter

Bibliographic Information

NBER Working Paper No. 21575
Issued in September 2015, Revised in May 2016
NBER Program(s):AP, EFG

Published: Mete Kilic & Jessica A Wachter, 2018. "Risk, Unemployment, and the Stock Market: A Rare-Event-Based Explanation of Labor Market Volatility," The Review of Financial Studies, vol 31(12), pages 4762-4814.

This paper was revised on May 25, 2016

Available Formats


What is the driving force behind the cyclical behavior of unemployment and vacancies? What is the relation between job-creation incentives of firms and stock market valuations? We answer these questions in a model with time-varying risk, modeled as a small and variable probability of an economic disaster. A high probability implies greater risk and lower future growth, lowering the incentives of firms to invest in hiring. During periods of high risk, stock market valuations are low and unemployment rises. The model thus explains volatility in equity and labor markets, and the relation between the two.

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