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An alternative unifying measure of welfare gains from risk-sharing

  • Auffret, Philippe
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    Following Lucas's (1987) standard approach, welfare gains from international risk-sharing have been measured as the percentage increase in consumption levels that leaves individuals indifferent between, autarky and risk-sharing. The author proposes to measure welfare gains as the increase in consumption growth, instead of consumption levels. When the consumption process is non-stationary, the author's proposed measure has several attractive features: it does not depend on the horizon, and it is robust to alternative specifications of the consumption stochastic processes (from geometric Brownian processes, to Orstein-Ulhenbeck mean-reverting processes), and preferences (from constant relative risk aversion preferences to Kreps-Porteus preferences). The author then uses this measure to estimate potential welfare gains from international risk-sharing for a representative U.S. consumer. The author finds that if international risk-sharing leads only to a complete elimination of aggregate consumption volatility (with no impact on consumption growth), it represents gains to a U.S. consumer of only $ 12 a year on average. But if international risk-sharing also permits an increase in consumption growth, it may have a sizable impact on welfare. Each 0.5 percentage point increase in consumption growth, represents gains to a U.S. consumer of about $ 160 a year on average.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2676.

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    Date of creation: 30 Sep 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2676
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    1. Stefano ATHANASOULIS & Eric VAN WINCOOP, 1997. "Growth Uncertainty And Risksharing," Economic Report 41, Iowa State University Department of Economics.
    2. Merton, Robert C., 1973. "An asymptotic theory of growth under uncertainty," Working papers 673-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    3. Harold L. Cole & Maurice Obstfeld, 1989. "Commodity Trade and International Risk Sharing: How Much Do Financial Markets Matter?," NBER Working Papers 3027, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
    5. Karen K. Lewis, 1996. "Consumption, Stock Returns, and the Gains from International Risk-Sharing," NBER Working Papers 5410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-57, August.
    7. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1992. "Risk-Taking, Global Diversification, and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1989. "Portfolio choice with non-expected utility in continuous time," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 313-317, October.
    9. Merton, Robert C, 1973. "An Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 867-87, September.
    10. Altonji, Joseph G & Siow, Aloysius, 1987. "Testing the Response of Consumption to Income Changes with (Noisy) Panel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 293-328, May.
    11. Levy, Haim & Sarnat, Marshall, 1970. "International Diversification of Investment Portfolios," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(4), pages 668-75, September.
    12. Bodie, Zvi & Merton, Robert C. & Samuelson, William F., 1992. "Labor supply flexibility and portfolio choice in a life cycle model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 427-449.
    13. Athanasoulis, S. & Shiller, R.J., 1995. "World Income Components: Measuring and Exploting International Risk Sharing Opportunities," Papers 725, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    14. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
    15. 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.
    16. Tesar, Linda L., 1995. "Evaluating the gains from international risksharing," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 95-143, June.
    17. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Evaluating risky consumption paths: The role of intertemporal substitutability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1471-1486, August.
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