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Uninsurable Investment Risks

  • Césaire A. Meh
  • Vincenzo Quadrini

The authors study a general-equilibrium economy in which agents have the ability to invest in a risky technology. The investment risk cannot be fully insured with optimal contracts, because shocks are private information. The authors show that the presence of these risks may lead to an underaccumulation of capital relative to an economy where idiosyncratic shocks can be fully insured. They also show that, although the availability of state-contingent (optimal) contracts cannot provide full insurance, it brings the aggregate stock of capital close to the complete markets level. Institutional reforms that make the use of these contracts possible have important welfare consequences.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Staff Working Papers with number 04-29.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:04-29
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  1. Ross Levine, 1997. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Views and Agenda," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 688-726, June.
  2. Christopher D. Carroll, 2000. "Portfolios of the Rich," NBER Working Papers 7826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Veronika Dolar & Césaire Meh, 2002. "Financial Structure and Economic Growth: A Non-Technical Survey," Staff Working Papers 02-24, Bank of Canada.
  4. Mikkelson, Wayne H. & Partch, M. Megan & Shah, Kshitij, 1997. "Ownership and operating performance of companies that go public," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 281-307, June.
  5. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2000. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," NBER Working Papers 7894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hansen, G.D. & Imrohoroglu, A., 1990. "The Role Of Unemployment Insurance In An Economy With Liquidity Constraints And Moral Hazard," Papers 21, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
  8. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana R. Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2001. "Optimal indirect and capital taxation," Staff Report 293, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-83, December.
  10. Khan, A. & Ravikumar, B., 1997. "Growth and Risk-Sharing with Private Information," Working Papers 97-13, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  11. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CSEF Working Papers 43, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  12. Himmelberg, Charles P. & Hubbard, R. Glenn & Love, Inessa, 2002. "Investor protection, ownership, and the cost of capital," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2834, The World Bank.
  13. Quadrini, Vincenzo, 1999. "The Importance of Entrepreneurship for Wealth Concentration and Mobility," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(1), pages 1-19, March.
  14. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
  15. Fudenberg, Drew & Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1990. "Short-term contracts and long-term agency relationships," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-31, June.
  16. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
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