The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper develops a general equilibrium model with unemployment and noncooperative wage determination to analyze the importance of incomplete markets when risk-averse agents are subject to idiosyncratic employment shocks. A version of the model calibrated to the U.S. shows that market incompleteness affects individual behavior and aggregate conditions: it reduces wages and unemployment but increases vacancies. Additionally, the model explains the average level of unemployment insurance observed in the U.S. A key mechanism is the joint influence of imperfect insurance and risk aversion in the wage bargaining. The paper also proposes a novel solution to solve this heterogeneous-agent model.