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Measuring the cost of economic fluctuations with preferences that rationalize the equity premium

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  • Angelo Melino

Abstract

Lucas (2003) argues that the potential welfare gains from stabilizing the business cycle are small. In fact, he shows that the benefits of eliminating all economic fluctuations are small, especially when compared with the potential gains from other reforms. His estimates are obtained using standard preferences. I show that a model consistent with observed data on asset returns leads to very different conclusions. Calibrating preferences to observed asset market data raises the estimated welfare gains from completely eliminating aggregate fluctuations by approximately two orders of magnitude. Most of the gains, however, come from the elimination of low-frequency contributions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 43 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 405-422

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:43:y:2010:i:2:p:405-422

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  1. Hansen, Lars Peter & Richard, Scott F, 1987. "The Role of Conditioning Information in Deducing Testable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 587-613, May.
  2. Hansen, Lars Peter & Jagannathan, Ravi, 1991. "Implications of Security Market Data for Models of Dynamic Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 225-62, April.
  3. Alvarez, Fernando & Jermann, Urban J., 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Working Papers 00-1, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
  4. Angelo Melino & Alan X. Yang, 2003. "State Dependent Preferences Can Explain the Equity Premium Puzzle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 806-830, October.
  5. Epstein, Larry G & Melino, Angelo, 1995. "A Revealed Preference Analysis of Asset Pricing under Recursive Utility," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 597-618, October.
  6. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "The equity premium puzzle and the risk-free rate puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 401-421, November.
  7. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  8. Larry G. Epstein & Stanley E. Zin, 1991. "The Independence Axiom and Asset Returns," NBER Technical Working Papers 0109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. TallariniJr., Thomas D., 2000. "Risk-sensitive real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 507-532, June.
  10. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  11. L. Epstein & S. Zin, 2010. "First order risk aversion and the equity premium puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1400, David K. Levine.
  12. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Guillén, Osmani Teixeira de Carvalho & Issler, João Victor & Franco-Neto, Afonso Arinos de Mello, 2013. "On the Welfare Costs of Business-Cycle Fluctuations and Economic-Growth Variation in the 20th Century and Beyond," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 748, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).

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