Growth uncertainty and risksharing

Abstract: We propose a new methodology to evaluate the gains from global risksharing that is closely connected to the empirical growth literature. We obtain estimates of residual risk (growth uncertainty) at various horizons from regressions of country-specific deviations from world growth on a wide set of variables in the information set. Since this residual risk can be entirely hedged, we use it to obtain a measure of welfare gain that can be achieved by a representative country. We find that nations can reap very large benefits from engaging in such risksharing arrangements. Using post-war data, the gain for a 35-year horizon, corresponding to an equivalent permanent increase in consumption, is 6.6% when based on a set of 49 countries, and 1.5% when based on 21 OECD countries. Using historical data from 1870 to 1990, we find that the potential gain for a 120-year horizon ranges from 4.9% for a small set of rich countries to 16.5% for a broad set of 24 countries.

Keywords: Risk; Economic history; Economic development;

JEL Classification: F41; O47;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Part of Series: Staff Reports

Publication Date: 1997-10-01

Number: 30

Pages: 34 pages

Note: For a published version of this report, see Stefano G. Athanasoulis and Eric van Wincoop, "Growth Uncertainty and Risksharing," Journal of Monetary Economics 45, no. 3 (June 2000): 477-505.