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Heterogeneity and tests of risk sharing

  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

How well do people share risk? Standard risk-sharing regressions assume that any variation in households’ risk preferences is uncorrelated with variation in the cyclicality of income. I combine administrative and survey data to show that this assumption is questionable: Risk-tolerant workers hold jobs where earnings carry more aggregate risk. The correlation makes risk-sharing regressions in the previous literature too pessimistic. I derive techniques that eliminate the bias, apply them to U.S. data, and find that the effect of idiosyncratic income shocks on consumption is practically small and statistically difficult to distinguish from zero.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 462.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:462
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  1. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L, 2007. "Consumption and Labour Supply with Partial Insurance: An Analytical Framework," CEPR Discussion Papers 6280, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Ligon, Ethan & Thomas, Jonathan P & Worrall, Tim, 2002. "Informal Insurance Arrangements with Limited Commitment: Theory and Evidence from Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 209-44, January.
  3. Dubois, P., 2001. "Consumption insurance with heterogeneous preferences. Can sharecropping help complete markets ?," Economics Working Paper Archive (Toulouse) 25, French Institute for Agronomy Research (INRA), Economics Laboratory in Toulouse (ESR Toulouse).
  4. Masao Ogaki & Qiang Zhang, 1998. "Decreasing Relative Risk Aversion and Tests of Risk Sharing," Working Papers 98-02, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2007. "Insurance and Opportunities: A Welfare Analysis of Labor Market Risk," NBER Working Papers 13673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kiefer, Nicholas M., 1980. "Estimation of fixed effect models for time series of cross-sections with arbitrary intertemporal covariance," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 195-202, October.
  7. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "An Empirical Analysis of Earnings and Employment Risk," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 241-53, April.
  8. Aigner, Dennis J., 1973. "Regression with a binary independent variable subject to errors of observation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 49-59, March.
  9. Maurizio Mazzocco & Shiv Saini, 2012. "Testing Efficient Risk Sharing with Heterogeneous Risk Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 428-68, February.
  10. Susan Dynarski & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Can Families Smooth Variable Earnings?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 229-303.
  11. Nelson, J.A., 1993. "On Testing for Full Insurance Using Consumer Expenditures Survey Data," Papers 93-02, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  12. Ahn, Seung Chan & Hoon Lee, Young & Schmidt, Peter, 2001. "GMM estimation of linear panel data models with time-varying individual effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 219-255, April.
  13. Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2007. "Heterogeneity, Risk Sharing and the Welfare Costs of Risk," 2007 Meeting Papers 926, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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