Labor Income and Risky Assets under Market Incompleteness: Evidence from Italian Data
Theory suggests that uninsurable income risk induces individuals to accumulate assets as a precautionary reserve of value. Most assets, however, bear rate of return risk, that can be diversified only if every asset is traded by a large number of individuals and arbitrage is frictionless. Using Italian micro-data, we find evidence of income and asset risks that affect consumption. Italian households are particularly well insured against illness but not against job losses. Moreover, we detect a positive, yet weak, effect of asset holding on the variability of consumption streams across households.
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