A Test of the Full Insurance Hypothesis: The Case of Japan
Exploiting the panel data structure of the Family Income and Expenditure Survey, compiled from 1989 to 1997 by the Japanese Bureau of Statistics, this paper explores how effectively idiosyncratic shocks are shared among consumers in Japan. Tests are conducted for the total consumption, together with each category of consumption expenditures. In addition, the empirical analysis of the paper accounts for the disaster shock caused by the Hyogo Earthquake that took place in January 1995. While the overall empirical results indicate that the full insurance hypothesis is strongly rejected, they suggest that idiosyncratic shocks are insured at least partially. With respect to the effect of the earthquake shock, the residents in the earthquake area indeed bore more shocks than those in other regions. The paper also points out that the extent of risk-sharing among households in Japan is fairly similar to that in the US.
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