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Consumption Risk-sharing in Social Networks

Author

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  • Attila Ambrus

    (Harvard University)

  • Markus Mobius

    (Harvard University)

  • Adam Szeidl

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

We build a model of informal risk-sharing among agents organized in a social network. A connection between individuals serves as collateral that can be used to enforce insurance payments. We characterize incentive compatible risk-sharing arrangements for any network structure, and develop two main results. (1) Expansive networks, where every group of agents have a large number of links with the rest of the community relative to the size of the group, facilitate better risk-sharing. In particular, “two-dimensional” village networks organized by geography are sufficiently expansive to allow very good risk-sharing. (2) In second-best arrangements, agents organize in endogenous “risksharing islands” in the network, where shocks are shared fully within but imperfectly across islands. As a result, risk-sharing in second-best arrangements is local: socially closer agents insure each other more. In an application of the model, we explore the spillover effect of development aid on the consumption of non-treated individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Attila Ambrus & Markus Mobius & Adam Szeidl, 2007. "Consumption Risk-sharing in Social Networks," Economics Working Papers 0079, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:ads:wpaper:0079
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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