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Individual Consumption Risk and the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles

  • Massimiliano De Santis
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    We measure the welfare gain from removing aggregate consumption fluctuations in a model where each individual faces incomplete consumption insurance. We show that, because this welfare gain is a convex function of the overall consumption risk—aggregate plus idiosyncratic—each individual faces, to gauge the magnitude of the gain, it is important to match individuals' overall risk prior to any policy. In an economy calibrated to match individuals' overall risk, even removing 10 percent of aggregate fluctuations can result in a large welfare gain. Further, large gains do not necessarily depend on the countercyclical nature of idiosyncratic risk. (JEL E21, E32)

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.97.4.1488
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    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 97 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 4 (September)
    Pages: 1488-1506

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:97:y:2007:i:4:p:1488-1506
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.4.1488
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    1. Alvarez, Fernando & Jermann, Urban J., 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Working Papers 00-1, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
    2. Jonathan A. Parker & Christian Julliard, 2004. "Consumption Risk and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns," Working Papers 138, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
    3. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-40, April.
    4. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Growth and Welfare Effects of Business Cycles in Economies with Idiosyncratic Human Capital Risk," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 846-868, October.
    5. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2000. "The Welfare Cost of Business Cycles Revisited: Finite Lives and Cyclical Variation in Idiosyncratic Risk," NBER Working Papers 8040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Ricardo Reis, 2005. "The Time-Series Properties of Aggregate Consumption: Implications for the Costs of Fluctuation," NBER Working Papers 11297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-89, August.
    8. Tom Krebs, 2005. "Job Displacement Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles," 2005 Meeting Papers 188, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Lars Peter Hansen & Ravi Jagannathan, 1990. "Implications of Security Market Data for Models of Dynamic Economies," NBER Technical Working Papers 0089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1481-1509, 08.
    11. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1995. "Is the Behavior of Hours Worked Consistent with Implicit Contract Theory?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 743-68, August.
    12. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-88, August.
    13. tom krebs, 2004. "welfare cost of business cycles when markets are incomplete," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 283, Econometric Society.
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