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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," Staff Reports 30, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    2. Robert Shiller, 2004. "World Income Components: Measuring And Exploiting International Risk Sharing Opportunities," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm151, Yale School of Management.
    3. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Risk-Taking, Global Diversification, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1310-29, December.
    4. 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.
    5. Maurice Obstfeld, 1995. "Evaluating Risky Consumption Paths: The Role of Intertemporal Substitutability," NBER Technical Working Papers 0120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. R. C. Merton, 1970. "Optimum Consumption and Portfolio Rules in a Continuous-time Model," Working papers 58, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    7. Merton, Robert C, 1973. "An Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 867-87, September.
    8. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    9. Svensson, L.E.O., 1988. "Portfolio Choice With Non-Expected Utility In Continuous Time," Papers 423, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
    10. Karen K. Lewis, 1996. "Consumption, Stock Returns, and the Gains from International Risk-Sharing," NBER Working Papers 5410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. 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.
    12. Merton, Robert C., 1973. "An asymptotic theory of growth under uncertainty," Working papers 673-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    13. 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.
    14. Zvi Bodie & Robert C. Merton & William F. Samuelson, 1992. "Labor Supply Flexibility and Portfolio Choice in a Life-Cycle Model," NBER Working Papers 3954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. Levy, Haim & Sarnat, Marshall, 1970. "International Diversification of Investment Portfolios," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(4), pages 668-75, September.
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