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Keywords:

  • Risk preferences;
  • heterogeneity;
  • complete markets;
  • insurance
  • D12;
  • D14;
  • D53;
  • D81;
  • D91;
  • G11;
  • O16

We show how to use panel data on household consumption to directly estimate households' risk preferences. Specifically, we measure heterogeneity in risk aversion among households in Thai villages using a full risk-sharing model, which we then test allowing for this heterogeneity. There is substantial, statistically significant heterogeneity in estimated risk preferences. Full insurance cannot be rejected. As the risk-sharing as-if-complete-markets theory might predict, estimated risk preferences are unrelated to wealth or other characteristics. The heterogeneity matters for policy: Although the average household would benefit from eliminating village-level risk, less-risk-averse households that are paid to absorb that risk would be worse off by several percent of household consumption.