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Limited Financial Market Participation: A Transaction Cost-Based Explanation

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  • Monica Paiella

    ()
    (Bank of Italy, Research Department)

Abstract

This paper focuses on the issue of limited financial market participation and determines a lower bound on the level of fixed transaction costs that are required to reconcile observed portfolio choices with asset returns within an isoelastic utility framework. The bound is determined from the set of conditions that ensure the optimality of consumption behavior by financial market non-participants. It represents the lowest possible cost rationalizing observed non-participation choices by providing a measure of the forgone utility gains from participation for observed non-participants. Such gains are related both to the magnitude of financial market returns and to the opportunity of smoothing consumption, with the benefits of the former decreasing in the degree of relative risk aversion and those of the latter increasing in it. Using the US Consumer Expenditure Survey, I find that a yearly cost of at least $70 is needed to rationalize non-participation for a consumer with log utility and who can trade in the S&P500 CI. This lower bound declines rapidly in risk aversion for levels of risk aversion up to two/three; for higher values, it levels off. A yearly cost of at least $31 is needed to rationalize non-participation for a consumer with log utility and who can trade in US Treasury Bills. This lower bound rises steadily in risk aversion.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 415.

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Date of creation: Aug 2001
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_415_01

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Related research

Keywords: household portfolio allocation; financial market participation; transaction costs; heterogeneous consumers;

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  1. 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.
  2. Haliassos, Michael & Bertaut, Carol C, 1995. "Why Do So Few Hold Stocks?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1110-29, September.
  3. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1991. "The consumption of stockholders and nonstockholders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 97-112, March.
  4. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-44, September.
  5. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
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  7. Hausman, Jerry A & Wise, David A, 1978. "A Conditional Probit Model for Qualitative Choice: Discrete Decisions Recognizing Interdependence and Heterogeneous Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 403-26, March.
  8. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
  9. James M. Poterba & Andrew Samwick, 2001. "Household Portfolio Allocation over the Life Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: Aging Issues in the United States and Japan, pages 65-104 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 1994. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," NBER Working Papers 4795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert & Runkle, David, 1988. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Estimating the Impact of Heterogeneity with Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1232-66, December.
  12. Hausman, Jerry A & Wise, David A, 1979. "Attrition Bias in Experimental and Panel Data: The Gary Income Maintenance Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 455-73, March.
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