IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On the Gains to International Trade in Risky Financial Assets


  • Steven J. Davis
  • Jeremy Nalewaik
  • Paul Willen


This paper develops and implements a framework for quantifying the gains to international trade in risky financial assets. The framework can handle may agents, many assets, incomplete markets and limited participation in asset markets. It delivers closed-form analytic solutions for consumption, portfolio allocations, asset prices and the gains to trade. We find enormous gains to trade when asset returns are calibrated to observed risk premia and all agents participate in asset markets. The gains-to-trade puzzle is closely related to, but distinct from, the equity premium puzzle. High risk aversion merely alters the form of the gains-to-trade puzzle, but limited participation in asset markets goes a long way towards addressing both puzzles. We also identify three reasons for limited international risk sharing. First, the requirement that asset markets span the space of national output shocks fails in a serious way. Second, for many countries the cost of using financial assets to hedge national output shocks greatly exceeds the benefits. Third, limited asset market participation reduces the feasible gains from international risk sharing.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven J. Davis & Jeremy Nalewaik & Paul Willen, 2000. "On the Gains to International Trade in Risky Financial Assets," NBER Working Papers 7796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7796
    Note: AP EFG IFM

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. Basak, Suleyman & Cuoco, Domenico, 1998. "An Equilibrium Model with Restricted Stock Market Participation," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 11(2), pages 309-341.
    3. Karen K. Lewis, 1999. "Trying to Explain Home Bias in Equities and Consumption," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(2), pages 571-608, June.
    4. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Risk-Taking, Global Diversification, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1310-1329, December.
    5. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, January.
    6. van Wincoop, Eric, 1999. "How big are potential welfare gains from international risksharing?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 109-135, February.
    7. Huberman, Gur & Kandel, Shmuel, 1987. " Mean-Variance Spanning," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(4), pages 873-888, September.
    8. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1991. "The consumption of stockholders and nonstockholders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 97-112, March.
    9. Kollmann, Robert, 1995. "Consumption, real exchange rates and the structure of international asset markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 191-211, April.
    10. Canova, Fabio & Ravn, Morten O, 1996. "International Consumption Risk Sharing," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(3), pages 573-601, August.
    11. John Heaton & Deborah J. Lucas, 2000. "Stock prices and fundamentals," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Apr.
    12. Bottazzi, Laura & Pesenti, Paolo & van Wincoop, Eric, 1996. "Wages, profits and the international portfolio puzzle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 219-254, February.
    13. Svensson, Lars E O, 1988. "Trade in Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 375-394, June.
    14. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 2000. "Portfolio Choice and Asset Prices: The Importance of Entrepreneurial Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1163-1198, June.
    15. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Human capital and capital market equilibrium," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 95-125, January.
    16. De Long, J Bradford, 1988. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1138-1154, December.
    17. Baxter, Marianne & Jermann, Urban J, 1997. "The International Diversification Puzzle Is Worse Than You Think," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 170-180, March.
    18. Athanasoulis, Stefano G. & van Wincoop, Eric, 2000. "Growth uncertainty and risksharing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 477-505, June.
    19. Bekaert, Geert & Urias, Michael S, 1996. " Diversification, Integration and Emerging Market Closed-End Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(3), pages 835-869, July.
    20. James M. Poterba, 2000. "Stock Market Wealth and Consumption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 99-118, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan A. Parker, 2001. "The Consumption Risk of the Stock Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 279-348.
    2. Kim, Jinill & Kim, Sunghyun Henry & Levin, Andrew, 2003. "Patience, persistence, and welfare costs of incomplete markets in open economies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 385-396, December.
    3. Stephane Pallage & Michel A. Robe, 2002. "The States vs. the states: On the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles in the U.S," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 20-17, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques, revised Oct 2002.
    4. Benoît Mercereau, 2003. "The Role of Stock Markets in Current Account Dynamics; Evidence from the United States," IMF Working Papers 03/108, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Martin Schmitz, 2010. "Financial Markets and International Risk Sharing," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 413-431, July.
    6. Athanasoulis, Stefano G., 2005. "Asset pricing from primitives: closed form solutions to asset prices, consumption, and portfolio demands," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 423-447, March.
    7. Lane, Philip R., 2005. "Global bond portfolios and EMU," Working Paper Series 553, European Central Bank.
    8. Benoît Mercereau, 2004. "The Role of Stock Markets in Current Account Dynamics; a Time-Series Approach," IMF Working Papers 04/50, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Mercereau, Benoît, 2003. "Real exchange rate in an inter-temporal n-country-model with incomplete markets," Working Paper Series 205, European Central Bank.
    10. Bekaert, Geert & Harvey, Campbell R. & Lundblad, Christian, 2006. "Growth volatility and financial liberalization," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 370-403, April.
    11. repec:wsi:qjfxxx:v:03:y:2013:i:03n04:n:s2010139213500110 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Thierry Bracke & Martin Schmitz, 2011. "Channels of international risk-sharing: capital gains versus income flows," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 45-78, April.
    13. Viral V. Acharya & Alberto Bisin, 2005. "Optimal Financial-Market Integration and Security Design," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(6), pages 2397-2434, November.
    14. Philip R. Lane, 2006. "Global Bond Portfolios and EMU," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(2), May.
    15. Mercereau, Benoit, 2006. "Stock markets and the real exchange rate: An intertemporal approach," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(7), pages 1130-1145, November.
    16. Steven J. Davis & Paul Willen, 2013. "Occupation-Level Income Shocks and Asset Returns: Their Covariance and Implications for Portfolio Choice," Quarterly Journal of Finance (QJF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(03n04), pages 1-53.
    17. P. R. Lane, 2001. "The National Pensions Reserve Fund: Pitfalls and Opportunities," Trinity Economics Papers 20017, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    18. Anne Marie Gleeson & Frances Ruane, 2006. "Export dynamics in Small Open Economies: Indigenous Irish Manufacturing Exports, 1985-2003," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp140, IIIS.
    19. Tille, Cedric, 2005. "The welfare effect of international asset market integration under nominal rigidities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 221-247, January.
    20. Iwata, Shigeru & Wu, Shu, 2009. "Stock market liberalization and international risk sharing," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 461-476, July.
    21. Paul S. Willen, 2004. "Incomplete markets and trade," Working Papers 04-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    22. Philip Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2005. "The International Equity Holdings of Euro Area Investors," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp104, IIIS.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7796. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.