A semiparametric characterization of income uncertainty over the life cycle

We propose a novel approach to estimate household income uncertainty at various future horizons and characterize how the estimated uncertainty evolves over the life cycle. We measure income uncertainty as the variance of linear forecast errors conditional on information available to households pr… ior to observing the realized income. This approach is semiparametric because we impose essentially no restrictions on the statistical properties of the forecast errors. Relative to previous studies, we find lower and less persistent income uncertainties that call for a life cycle consumption profile with a less pronounced hump.