This paper analyses the smoothing of asymmetric shocks to output for a sample of OECD countries. It also examines whether the private capital markets will be able to replace the government in providing output smoothing in the euro-area, in the near future. The research finds no evidence of large differences in the patterns of risk sharing for the 19 OECD countries, the EU-15 or euro-area countries, for the period 1970-1999. However, there were shown to be considerable differences between the euro-area and the successful monetary union of the USA: the euro-area showed a much lower insurance of asymmetric shocks than the US states. Until increasing economic integration in Europe does not lead to a substantial decrease in the incidence of idiosyncratic shocks, such shocks may impose non-negligible welfare costs.
EMU output smoothing risk sharing international capital markets economic integration