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Partial insurance, information and consumption dynamics

Author

Listed:
  • Richard Blundell

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

  • Luigi Pistaferri

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Stanford University)

  • Ian Preston

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

Abstract

This paper uses panel data on household consumption and income to evaluate the degree of insurance to income shocks. Our aim is to describe the transmission of income inequality into consumption inequality. Our framework nests the special cases of self-insurance and the complete markets assumption. We assess the degree of insurance over and above self-insurance through savings by contrasting shifts in the cross-sectional distribution of income growth with shifts in the cross-sectional distribution of consumption growth, and analyzing the way these two measures of household welfare correlate over time. We combine panel data on income from the PSID with consumption data from repeated CEX cross-sections in a structural way, i.e. using conventional demand analysis rather than reduced form imputation procedures. Our results point to some partial insurance but reject the complete markets restriction. We find a greater degree of insurance for transitory shocks and differences in the degree of insurance over time and across education. We also document the importance of durables and of taxes and transfers as a means of insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2002. "Partial insurance, information and consumption dynamics," IFS Working Papers W02/16, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:02/16
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    Cited by:

    1. Hanno Lustig, 2004. "Housing Collateral, Consumption Insurance and Risk Premia: an Empirical Perspective (joint with Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh), forthcoming Journal of Finance," UCLA Economics Online Papers 300, UCLA Department of Economics.
    2. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2003. "Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor Using Income and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 9760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Dirk Kreuger & Fabrizio Perri, 2002. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory," Working Papers 02-15, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    4. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2007. "The Evolution of Inequality, Heterogeneity and Uncertainty in Labor Earnings in the U.S. Economy," NBER Working Papers 13526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Hanno N. Lustig & Stijn G. Van Nieuwerburgh, 2005. "Housing Collateral, Consumption Insurance, and Risk Premia: An Empirical Perspective," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1167-1219, June.
    6. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2004. "A Theory of Housing Collateral, Consumption Insurance and Risk Premia," NBER Working Papers 10955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Orazio Attanasio & Erich Battistin & Hidehiko Ichimura, 2004. "What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the US?," NBER Working Papers 10338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Perri, Fabrizio & Krueger, Dirk, 2002. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3583, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2010. "How Much Does Household Collateral Constrain Regional Risk Sharing?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(2), pages 265-294, April.
    10. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2006. "Intertemporal Choice and Consumption Mobility," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 75-115, March.
    11. Erich Battistin, 2002. "Errors in Survey Reports of Consumption Expenditures," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 C4-2, International Conferences on Panel Data.
    12. David McKenzie, 2005. "Measuring inequality with asset indicators," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(2), pages 229-260, June.
    13. Hanno Lustig, 2004. "How much Does Household Collateral Constrain Regional Risk Sharing? (joint with Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh) (updated February 2006)," UCLA Economics Online Papers 302, UCLA Department of Economics.
    14. Hanno Lustig, 2004. "Can Housing Collateral Explain Long-Run Swings in Asset Returns? (joint with Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh)," UCLA Economics Online Papers 322, UCLA Department of Economics.
    15. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2002. "Housing Collateral, Consumption Insurance and Risk Premia," Macroeconomics 0211008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Andreas Lehnert, 2004. "Housing, consumption, and credit constraints," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-63, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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    JEL classification:

    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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