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Incomplete Markets, Transitory Shocks, and Welfare

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  • Felix Kubler
  • Karl Schmedders

Abstract

While equilibrium allocations in models with incomplete markets are generally not Pareto-efficient, it is often argued that quantitative welfare losses from missing assets are small when time-horizons are long and shocks are transitory. In this paper we use a computational analyses to show that even in the simplest infinite horizon model without aggregate uncertainty welfare losses can be substantial. Furthermore, we show that in this model, welfare losses form incomplete markets to not necessarily disappear when agents become more patient. We identify two scenarios under which this is the case. First, when the economic model is calibrated to higher frequency data, the persistence of negative income shocks must increase as well. In this case, the welfare loss of incomplete markets remains constant even as agents' rate of time preference B>1. Secondly, for a fixed specification of endowment processes, an exogenous decrease of agents' rate of discounting should not affect their abilities to borrow. With exogenous borrowing constraints, the incomplete markets welfare does not converge to complete markets welfare.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1285.

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Date of creation: Feb 2000
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1285

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  1. Eric van Wincoop, 1998. "How big are potential welfare gains from international risksharing?," Staff Reports 37, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Krusell, P & Smith Jr, A-A, 1995. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomic," RCER Working Papers 399, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
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  7. David K. Levine & William R. Zame, 2002. "Does Market Incompleteness Matter?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1805-1839, September.
  8. Michael Magill & Martine Quinzii, 2000. "Infinite horizon CAPM equilibrium," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 103-138.
  9. David K. Levine & William R. Zame, 1993. "Debt Constraints and Equilibrium in Infinite Horizon Economies with Incomplete Markets," UCLA Economics Working Papers 703, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  11. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah J, 1996. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 443-87, June.
  12. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
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  14. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  15. Judd, Kenneth L. & Kubler, Felix & Schmedders, Karl, 2000. "Computing equilibria in infinite-horizon finance economies: The case of one asset," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(5-7), pages 1047-1078, June.
  16. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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