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Incomplete Markets, Transitory Shocks, and Welfare


  • Felix Kubler

    (Stanford University)

  • Karl Schmedders

    (Northwestern University)


Although 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 analysis 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 from incomplete markets do not necessarily disappear when one considers calibrations of the model in which agent become very patient. We argue that when the economic model is calibrated to higher frequency data, the period 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 tends to one. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Kubler & Karl Schmedders, 2001. "Incomplete Markets, Transitory Shocks, and Welfare," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(4), pages 747-766, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:4:y:2001:i:4:p:747-766
    DOI: 10.1006/redy.2001.0134

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Piero Gottardi & Felix Kubler, 2015. "Dynamic Competitive Economies with Complete Markets and Collateral Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 1119-1153.
    2. Akyol, Ahmet & Athreya, Kartik, 2005. "Risky higher education and subsidies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 979-1023, June.
    3. Kim, Jinill & Kim, Sunghyun Henry & Levin, Andrew, 2003. "Patience, persistence, and welfare costs of incomplete markets in open economies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 385-396, December.
    4. Lee, Khang Min & Moyen, Nathalie, 2006. "Optimal liberalization of financial markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 1319-1335, December.
    5. David K. Levine & William R. Zame, 2002. "Does Market Incompleteness Matter?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1805-1839, September.
    6. Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2006. "Precautionary Savings or Working Longer Hours?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 326-352, April.
    7. Henry Kim & Jinill Kim & Robert Kollmann, 2005. "Applying Perturbation Methods to Incomplete Market Models with Exogenous Borrowing Constraints," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0504, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    8. Krebs, Tom & Krishna, Pravin & Maloney, William F., 2012. "Income risk, income mobility and welfare," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6254, The World Bank.
    9. Juan-Carlos Cordoba, 2004. "Debt-Constraints or Incomplete Markets? A Decomposition of the Wealth and Consumption Inequality in the U.S," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 335, Econometric Society.
    10. Tom Krebs & Pravin Krishna & William Maloney, 2013. "Income Mobility and Welfare," IMF Working Papers 13/24, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Giorgio Primiceri & Thijs van Rens, 2002. "Inequality over the business cycle: Estimating income risk using micro-data on consumption," Economics Working Papers 943, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2004.
    12. Chiaki Hara & James Huang & Christoph Kuzmics, 2006. "Efficient Risk-Sharing Rules with Heterogeneous Risk Attitudes and Background Risks," KIER Working Papers 621, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    13. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2008. "Insurance and opportunities: A welfare analysis of labor market risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 501-525, April.

    More about this item


    incomplete markets; heterogeneous agents; welfare loss; persistent shocks.;

    JEL classification:

    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General


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