NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

International Consumption Risk Is Shared After All: An Asset Return View

Karen K. Lewis, Edith X. Liu

NBER Working Paper No. 17872
Issued in February 2012
NBER Program(s):   AP   EFG   IFM

International consumption risk sharing studies have largely ignored their models' counterfactual implications for asset returns although these returns incorporate direct market measures of risk. In this paper, we modify a canonical risk-sharing model to generate more plausible asset return behavior and then consider the effects on welfare gains. Matching the mean and variance of equity returns and the risk-free rate requires persistent consumption risk, leading to three main findings: (1) risk-sharing gains decrease as the ability to diversify persistent consumption risk decreases; (2) the international correlation of equity returns is high relative to the correlation of consumption and dividends, implying low diversification potential for persistent consumption risk; and (3) increasing persistent consumption risk reduces the gains. Taken together, our findings suggest that asset returns imply more international risk sharing than previously thought.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17872

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