Income Risk and Portfolio Choice: An Empirical Study

  • Published: Mar 13, 2009
  • Pages: 1037-1055
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2009.01456.x


This paper investigates the relationship between portfolio choice and labor income risk in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Cohort. Permanent income risk (variability of shocks to income that have permanent effect) significantly reduces the share of risky assets in the household's portfolio, while transitory income risk (variability of shocks with no lasting effect) does not. This result provides strong evidence that households' portfolio choices respond to labor income risks in a manner consistent with economic theory.

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