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Asset Pricing with Countercyclical Household Consumption Risk

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  • George M. Constantinides
  • Anisha Ghosh

Abstract

This paper presents evidence that shocks to household consumption growth are negatively skewed, persistent, and countercyclical and play a major role in driving asset prices. We construct a parsimonious model in which heterogeneous households have recursive preferences and a single state variable drives the conditional cross-sectional moments of household consumption growth. We demonstrate, under certain conditions, the existence of equilibrium in such a heterogeneous-household economy. The estimated model provides a good fit for the moments of the cross-sectional distribution of household consumption growth and the unconditional moments of the risk free rate, equity premium, market price-dividend ratio, and aggregate dividend and consumption growth. The explanatory power of the model does not derive from possible predictability of aggregate dividend and consumption growth as these are intentionally modeled as i.i.d. processes. Consistent with empirical evidence, the model implies that the risk free rate and price-dividend ratio are pro-cyclical while the expected market return and the variance of the market return and risk free rate are countercyclical. Household consumption risk also explains the cross-section of excess returns.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 20110.

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Date of creation: May 2014
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20110

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