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A Test of Consumption Insurance

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  • John H. Cochrane

Abstract

Are individuals effectively insured against idiosyncratic shocks to income or wealth by either formal or informal mechanisms? This paper shows that under perfect insurance, marginal utility should grow at the same rate for all consumers, and that the distribution of measured consumption growth rates should be independent of variables that are exogenous to the individual consumer when we allow for measurement error in consumption and for variation in preferences. This proposition is tested by cross sectional regressions of individual consumption growth on a variety of variables that should not be correlated with it under perfect insurance, including illness, being fired from a job, etc.

Suggested Citation

  • John H. Cochrane, 1988. "A Test of Consumption Insurance," NBER Working Papers 2642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2642
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrew B. Abel & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1988. "Does the Consumption of Different Age Groups Move Together? A New Nonparametric Test of Intergenerational Altruism," NBER Working Papers 2490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Scheinkman, Jose A & Weiss, Laurence, 1986. "Borrowing Constraints and Aggregate Economic Activity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 23-45, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1992. "Is the Extended Family Altruistically Linked? Direct Tests Using Micro Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1177-1198, December.
    2. Canova, Fabio & Ciccarelli, Matteo & Ortega, Eva, 2007. "Similarities and convergence in G-7 cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 850-878, April.
    3. Fumio Hayashi & Joseph Altonji & Laurence Kotlikoff, 1991. "Risk-Sharing, Altruism, and the Factor Structure of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 3834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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