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Risk sharing: private insurance markets or redistributive taxes?

  • Dirk Krueger
  • Fabrizio Perri

We explore the welfare consequences of different taxation schemes in an economy where agents are debt-constrained. If agents default on their debt, they are banned from future credit markets, but retain their private endowments which are subject to income taxation. A change in the tax system changes the severity of punishment from default and, hence, leads to a limitation of possible risk sharing via private contracts. The welfare consequences of a change in the tax system depend on the relative magnitudes of increased risk sharing forced by the new tax system and the reduced risk sharing in private insurance markets. We quantitatively address this issue by calibrating an artificial economy to US income and tax data. We show that for a plausible selection of the structural parameters of our model, the change to a more redistributive tax system leads to less risk sharing among individuals and lower ex-ante welfare.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 262.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:262
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  1. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  2. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-56, October.
  3. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  4. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1997. "Dimensions of inequality: facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-21.
  5. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, . "Persistent Idiosyncratic Shocks and Incomplete Markets," GSIA Working Papers 24, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  6. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2010. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing Without Commitment," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2053, David K. Levine.
  7. Attanasio, Orazio & Davis, Steven J, 1996. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1227-62, December.
  8. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-40, April.
  9. Atkeson Andrew & Lucas Jr. , Robert E., 1995. "Efficiency and Equality in a Simple Model of Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 64-88, June.
  10. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 4328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Kimball, Miles S & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1989. "Precautionary Saving and the Timing of Taxes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 863-79, August.
  12. Robert B. Barsky & N. Gregory Mankiw & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1987. "Ricardian Consumers With Keynesian Propensities," NBER Working Papers 1400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J Jermann, 2010. "Asset Pricing When Risk Sharing is Limited by Default," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1898, David K. Levine.
  14. Cole, Harold L & Kocherlakota, Narayana R, 2001. "Efficient Allocations with Hidden Income and Hidden Storage," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 523-42, July.
  15. Chan, Louis Kuo Chi, 1983. "Uncertainty and the neutrality of government financing policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 351-372.
  16. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  17. Nelson, J.A., 1993. "On Testing for Full Insurance Using Consumer Expenditures Survey Data," Papers 93-02, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  18. Timothy J Kehoe & David K Levine, 1993. "Debt Constrained Asset Markets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1276, David K. Levine.
  19. Andrew Atkeson & Robert E Lucas, 2010. "On Efficient Distribution with Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2179, David K. Levine.
  20. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521335614 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Varian, Hal R., 1980. "Redistributive taxation as social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, August.
  22. 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.
  23. Lusardi, Annamaria, 1996. "Permanent Income, Current Income, and Consumption: Evidence from Two Panel Data Sets," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(1), pages 81-90, January.
  24. Hayashi, Fumio & Altonji, Joseph & Kotlikoff, Laurence, 1996. "Risk-Sharing between and within Families," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 261-94, March.
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