Household Risk Management
Households' insurance against shocks to income and asset values (that is, household risk management) is limited, especially for poor households. We argue that a trade-off between intertemporal financing needs and insurance across states explains this basic insurance pattern. In a model with limited enforcement, we show that household risk management is increasing in household net worth and income, incomplete, and precautionary. These results hold in economies with income risk, durable goods and collateral constraints, and durable goods price risk, under quite general conditions and, remarkably, risk aversion is sufficient and prudence is not required. In equilibrium, collateral scarcity lowers the interest rate, reduces insurance, and increases inequality.
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This paper was revised on May 10, 2017
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22293