NBER Working Papers by Paul G. J. O'Connell

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

Working Papers

December 2003The Risk Tolerance of International Investors
with Kenneth A. Froot: w10157
Investor confidence and risk tolerance are important concepts that investors are constantly trying to gauge. Yet these concepts are notoriously hard to measure in practice. Most attempts rely on price or return data, but these run into trouble when trying to disentangle whether an observed price change is attributable to a shift in investor confidence or a change in fundamental value. In this paper, we take an alternative approach by looking at the world-wide holdings and trading of risky assets. We model global capital markets as the interaction between large global institutional investors and smaller domestic investors from each country. This permits separation of global price changes into two components, one that reflects changes in demand and fundamentals perceived by all investors, an...
July 1997"The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall": How Price Differences Across U.S. Cities Are Arbitraged
with Shang-Jin Wei: w6089
Recent empirical work has made headway in exploring the non-linear dynamics of deviations from the law of one price and" purchasing power parity that are apt to arise from transaction costs. However, there are two important facets of this work that need improvement. First, the choice of empirical specification is arbitrary. Second, the data used are typically composite price indices which are subject to potentially serious aggregation biases. This paper examines the evidence for transport-cost-induced nonlinear price behavior within the U.S. We address both of the above shortcomings. First, we use a simple continuous-time model to inform the choice of empirical specification. The model indicates that the behavior of deviations from price parity depends on the relative importance of f...

Published: O'Connell, Paul G. J. and Shang-Jin Wei. "'The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall': Retail Price Differences Across U.S. Cities," Journal of International Economics, 2002, v56(1,Jan), 21-53.

May 1997The Pricing of U.S. Catastrophe Reinsurance
with Kenneth A. Froot: w6043
We explore two theories that have been advanced to explain the patterns in U.S. catastrophe reinsurance pricing. The first is that price variation is tied to demand shocks, driven in effect by changes in actuarially expected losses. The second holds that the supply of capital to the reinsurance industry is less than perfectly elastic, with the consequence that prices are bid up whenever existing funds are depleted by catastrophe losses. Using detailed reinsurance contract data from Guy Carpenter & Co. over a 25-year period, we test these two theories. Our results suggest that capital market imperfections are more important than shifts in actuarial valuation for understanding catastrophe reinsurance pricing. Supply, rather than demand, shifts seem to explain most features of the market...


April 1997On The Pricing of Intermediated Risks: Theory and Application to Catastrophe Reinsurance
with Kenneth A. Froot: w6011
We model the equilibrium price and quantity of risk transfer between firms and financial intermediaries. Value-maximizing firms have downward sloping demands to cede risk, while intermediaries, who assume risk, provide less-than-fully-elastic supply. We show that equilibrium required returns will be high' in the presence of financing imperfections that make intermediary capital costly. Moreover, financing imperfections can give rise to intermediary market power, so that small changes in financial imperfections can give rise to large changes in price. We develop tests of this alternative against the null that the supply of intermediary capital is perfectly elastic. We take the US catastrophe reinsurance market as an example, using detailed data from Guy Carpenter & Co., covering a larg...

Published: Froot, Kenneth A. & O'Connell, Paul G.J., 2008. "On the pricing of intermediated risks: Theory and application to catastrophe reinsurance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 69-85, January. citation courtesy of

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us