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Insuring consumption using income-linked assets

Author

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  • Andreas Fuster
  • Paul S. Willen

Abstract

Shiller (2003) and others have argued for the creation of financial instruments that allow households to insure risks associated with their lifetime labor income. In this paper, we argue that while the purpose of such assets is to smooth consumption across states of nature, one must also consider the assets' effects on households' ability to smooth consumption over time. We show that consumers in a realistically calibrated life-cycle model would generally prefer income-linked loans (with a rate positively correlated with income shocks) to an income-hedging instrument (a limited liability asset whose returns correlate negatively with income shocks) even though the assets offer identical opportunities to smooth consumption across states. While for some parameterizations of our model the welfare gains from the presence of income-linked assets can be substantial (above 1 percent of certainty-equivalent consumption), the assets we consider can only mitigate a relatively small part of the welfare costs of labor income risk over the life cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Fuster & Paul S. Willen, 2010. "Insuring consumption using income-linked assets," Working Papers 10-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:10-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Shawn Cole & Xavier Gine & Jeremy Tobacman & Petia Topalova & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2013. "Barriers to Household Risk Management: Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 104-135, January.
    2. Jonathan Halket & Santhanagopalan Vasudev, 2014. "Saving Up or Settling Down: Home Ownership over the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(2), pages 345-366, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk management;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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