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Heterogeneity and Tests of Risk Sharing

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  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

Abstract

How well do people share risk? Standard risk-sharing regressions assume that any variation in households' risk preferences is uncorrelated with variation in the cyclicality of income. I combine administrative and survey data to show that this assumption is questionable: Risk-tolerant workers hold jobs in which earnings carry more aggregate risk. The correlation makes risk-sharing regressions in the previous literature too pessimistic. I derive techniques that eliminate the bias, apply them to U.S. data, and find that the effect of idiosyncratic income shocks on consumption is practically small and statistically difficult to distinguish from zero.

Suggested Citation

  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2011. "Heterogeneity and Tests of Risk Sharing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(5), pages 925-958.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/662720
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