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Accounting for Private Information

Laurence Ales and Pricila Maziero

No 2010-E58, GSIA Working Papers from Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

Abstract: We study the quantitative properties of constrained e¢ cient allocations in an environ- ment where risk sharing is limited by the presence of private information. We consider a life cycle version of a standard Mirrlees economy where shocks to labor productiv- ity have a component that is public information and one that is private information. The presence of private shocks has important implications for the age proÖles of con- sumption and hours. First, they introduce an endogenous dispersion of continuation utilities. As a result, consumption inequality rises with age even if the variance of the shocks does not. Second, they introduce an endogenous rise of the distortion on the marginal rate of substitution between consumption and leisure over the life cycle. This is because, as agents age, the ability to properly provide incentives for work must become less and less tied to promises of beneÖts (through either increased leisure or consumption) in future periods. Both of these features are also present in the data. We look at the data through the lens of our model and estimate the fraction of labor productivity that is private information. We Önd that for the model and data to be consistent, all of the shocks to labor productivities must be private information.

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Related works:
Working Paper: Accounting for private information (2008) Downloads
Working Paper: Accounting for private information (2007)
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