NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

What Can Explain the Apparent Lack of International Consumption Risk Sharing?

Karen K. Lewis

NBER Working Paper No. 5203
Issued in August 1995
NBER Program(s):   IFM   AP

Recent research in international business cycles based upon complete markets has found that international consumption correlations are lower than predicted by the standard risk-sharing implications of these models. In this paper, I use regression tests to ask whether two different types of explanations can help explain this result. First, I consider whether non-separabilities between tradeables and non-tradeable leisure or goods can explain the puzzle. Surprisingly, non-separabilities explain only a tiny fraction of the variation in tradeables consumption across countries. Furthermore, risk-sharing in tradeables is rejected. Second, I examine the effects of capital market restrictions on aggregate consumption risk-sharing by countries. While rejections of risk-sharing are stronger for countries facing more severe capital market restrictions, risk-sharing is still rejected for the unrestricted group of countries. Therefore, risk-sharing does not appear to be resolved by either explanation alone. However, when I allow for both non-separabilities and certain market restrictions, risk-sharing among unrestricted countries is not rejected. This evidence suggests that a combination of these two effects may be necessary to explain consumption risk-sharing across countries.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5203

Published: Journal of Political Economy, April 1996, vol.104, pp.267-297.

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