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An exploration of the effects of pessimism and doubt on asset returns

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  • Abel, Andrew B.

Abstract

The subjective distribution of growth rates of aggregate consumption is characterized by pessimism if it is first-order stochastically dominated by the objective distribution. Uniform pessimism is a leftward translation of the objective distribution of the logarithm of the growth rate. The subjective distribution is characterized by doubt if it is mean-preserving spread of the objective distribution. Pessimism and doubt both reduce the riskfree rate and thus can help resolve the riskfree rate puzzle. Uniform pessimism and doubt both increase the average equity premium and thus can help resolve the equity premium puzzle.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 26 (2002)
Issue (Month): 7-8 (July)
Pages: 1075-1092

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:26:y:2002:i:7-8:p:1075-1092

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  1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  2. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent & Thomas D. Tallarini Jr., 1997. "Robust Permanent Income and Pricing," Levine's Working Paper Archive 596, David K. Levine.
  3. Rietz, Thomas A., 1988. "The equity risk premium a solution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 117-131, July.
  4. 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.
  5. Kandel, Shmuel & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1991. "Asset returns and intertemporal preferences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 39-71, February.
  6. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1988. "The equity risk premium: A solution?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 133-136, July.
  7. Cecchetti, Stephen G & Lam, Pok-sang & Mark, Nelson C, 1990. "Mean Reversion in Equilibrium Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 398-418, June.
  8. Pok-sang Lam & Stephen G. Cecchetti & Nelson C. Mark, 2000. "Asset Pricing with Distorted Beliefs: Are Equity Returns Too Good to Be True?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 787-805, September.
  9. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
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