IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/red/issued/07-133.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Heterogeneous Risk Preferences and the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles

Author

Listed:
  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

I study the welfare cost of business cycles in a complete-markets economy where some people are more risk averse than others. Relatively more risk-averse people buy insurance against aggregate risk, and relatively less risk-averse people sell insurance. These trades reduce the welfare cost of business cycles for everyone. Indeed, the least risk-averse people benefit from business cycles. Moreover, even infinitely risk-averse people suffer only finite and, in my empirical estimates, very small welfare losses. In other words, when there are complete insurance markets, aggregate fluctuations in consumption are essentially irrelevant not just for the average person -- the surprising finding of Lucas (1987) -- but for everyone in the economy, no matter how risk averse they are. If business cycles matter, it is because they affect productivity or interact with uninsured idiosyncratic risk, not because aggregate risk per se reduces welfare. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2008. "Heterogeneous Risk Preferences and the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 761-780, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:07-133
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2008.01.003
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.red.2008.01.003
    Download Restriction: Access to full texts is restricted to ScienceDirect subscribers and institutional members. See http://www.sciencedirect.com/ for details.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Evaluating risky consumption paths: The role of intertemporal substitutability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1471-1486, August.
    3. repec:fth:harver:1418 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "The Cost of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 964-990, September.
    5. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2004. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1223-1256, December.
    6. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 1988. "How Does Macroeconomic Policy Affect Output?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 433-494.
    7. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2008. "Consumption Inequality and Partial Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1887-1921, December.
    8. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 1999. "On the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 245-272, January.
    9. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    10. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
    11. Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2007. "Heterogeneity, Risk Sharing and the Welfare Costs of Risk," 2007 Meeting Papers 926, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1991. "Technology Commitment and the Cost of Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 3755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Michał Brzoza-Brzezina & Marcin Kolasa & Grzegorz Koloch & Krzysztof Makarski & Michał Rubaszek, 2013. "Monetary Policy In A Non-Representative Agent Economy: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 641-669, September.
    2. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative Macroeconomics with Heterogeneous Households," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 319-354, May.
    3. Krzysztof MAKARSKI & Michal GRADZEWICZ, "undated". "The Macroeconomic Effects of Losing Autonomous Monetary Policy after the Euro Adoption in Poland," EcoMod2009 21500061, EcoMod.
    4. Pierre‐André Chiappori & Krislert Samphantharak & Sam Schulhofer‐Wohl & Robert M. Townsend, 2014. "Heterogeneity and risk sharing in village economies," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 1-27, March.
    5. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2009. "Revisiting the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(3), pages 393-402, July.
    6. Ensar Yılmaz, 2014. "Welfare Costs of Business Cycles in Turkey," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 195-211, May.
    7. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari, 2014. "Understanding Social Interactions: Evidence from the Classroom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(579), pages 917-953, September.
    8. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Reny, Philip J., 2016. "Matching to share risk," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(1), January.
    9. Colleen Carey & Stephen H. Shore, 2013. "From the Peaks to the Valleys: Cross-State Evidence on Income Volatility over the Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 549-562, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business cycles; Risk aversion; Risk sharing; Heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:issued:07-133. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/sedddea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.