Investment and Insurance in an Economic Union
The presence of private information limits the extent of risk sharing in an economic union. Studying the optimal dynamic arrangement with these impediments is particularly important because of its potential effect on investment and the distribution of power between its members. This paper studies this problem in a neoclassical growth model with two countries. One of the countries faces "demand" shocks that are privately observed. The economic union must decide how much help they should provide to this country and how to finance those transfers: Should they come from a reduction of investment or of consumption of the other member? Importantly, the viability of the Economic Union may be at risk if private information imposes large welfare losses. To address these questions, an alternative recursive method to solve for the optimal allocation in this context is developed. The results suggest that, in spite of private information, it is still (constrained) optimal to provide some insurance but at the cost of a reduction in the welfare of the country helped. The welfare costs of private information are non-monotone in the size of the country with private information.
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