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Time-Varying Risk Perceptions and the Pricing of Risky Assets

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  • Benjamin M. Friedman
  • Kenneth N. Kuttner

Abstract

Empirical results based on two different statistical approaches lead to several conclusions about the role of time-varying asset risk assessments in accounting for what, on the basis of many earlier studies, appear to be time-varying differentials in ex ante asset returns. First, both methods indicate sizeable changes over time in variance-covariance structures conditional on past information. These changing conditional variance-covariance structures in turn imply sizeable changes over time in asset demand behavior, and hence in the market-clearing equilibrium structure of ex ante asset returns. Second, at least for some values of the parameter indicating how rapidly investors discount the information contained in past observations, the implied ex ante excess returns bear non-negligible correlation to observed ex post excess returns on either debt or equity. The percentage of the variation of ex post excess returns explained by the implied time-varying ex ante excess returns is comparable to values to which previous researchers have interpreted as warranting rejection of the hypothesis that risk premia are constant over time. Third, although for long-term debt the two statistical methods used here give sharply different answers to the question of how much relevance market participants associate with past observations in assessing future risks, for equities both methods agree in indicating extremely rapid discounting of more distant observations -- so much so that in neither case do outcomes more than a year in the past matter much at all. While the paper's other conclusions are plausible enough, the finding of such an extremely short "memory" on the part of equity investors suggests that the standard representation of equity risk by a single normally distributed disturbance is overly restrictive.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2694.

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Date of creation: Aug 1988
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Publication status: published as Oxford Economic Papers, Vol. 44, (1992), pp.566-598.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2694

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  1. Benjamin M. Friedman, 1980. "Price Inflation, Portfolio Choice, and Nominal Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 0235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ross, Stephen A., 1976. "The arbitrage theory of capital asset pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 341-360, December.
  3. Shiller, Robert J, 1979. "The Volatility of Long-Term Interest Rates and Expectations Models of the Term Structure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1190-1219, December.
  4. Robert J. Shiller & J. Huston McCulloch, 1987. "The Term Structure of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 2341, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Modigliani, Franco & Shiller, Robert J, 1973. "Inflation, Rational Expectations and the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 40(157), pages 12-43, February.
  6. Engle, Robert F & Lilien, David M & Robins, Russell P, 1987. "Estimating Time Varying Risk Premia in the Term Structure: The Arch-M Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 391-407, March.
  7. Roley, V Vance, 1982. "The Effect of Federal Debt-Management Policy on Corporate Bond and Equity Yields," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 645-68, November.
  8. Friedman, Benjamin M, 1980. "Price Inflation, Portfolio Choice, and Nominal Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(1), pages 32-48, March.
  9. Irwin Friend & Joel Hasbrouck, . "Effect of Inflation on the Profitability and Valuation of U.S. Corporations," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 04-82, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  10. Angelo Melino, 1986. "The Term Structure of Interest Rates: Evidence and Theory," NBER Working Papers 1828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Benjamin M. Friedman & V. Vance Roley, 1985. "Aspects of Investor Behavior Under Risk," NBER Working Papers 1611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Breeden, Douglas T., 1979. "An intertemporal asset pricing model with stochastic consumption and investment opportunities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 265-296, September.
  13. Irwin Friend & Joel Hasbrouck, . "Effect of Inflation on the Profitability and Valuation of U.S. Corporations," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 4-82, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  14. Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
  15. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "An Intertemporal General Equilibrium Model of Asset Prices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 363-84, March.
  16. Benjamin M. Friedman, 1985. "Crowding Out or Crowding In? Evidence on Debt-Equity Substitutability," NBER Working Papers 1565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Bollerslev, Tim & Engle, Robert F & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1988. "A Capital Asset Pricing Model with Time-Varying Covariances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 116-31, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Tim BOLLERSLEV & Ray Y. CHOU & Narayanan JAYARAMAN & Kenneth F. KRONER, 1991. "Les modéles ARCH en finance : un point sur la théorie et les résultats empiriques," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 24, pages 1-59.
  2. Kenneth D. West & Hali J. Edison & Dongchul Cho, 1993. "A utility based comparison of some models of exchange rate volatility," International Finance Discussion Papers 441, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. D H Kim, 2002. "Another look at yield spreads: The role of liquidity," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 04, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
  4. Jose A. Lopez, 1995. "Evaluating the predictive accuracy of volatility models," Research Paper 9524, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. Bollerslev, Tim & Chou, Ray Y. & Kroner, Kenneth F., 1992. "ARCH modeling in finance : A review of the theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 5-59.
  6. Kenneth Kuttner, 2006. "Can Central Banks Target Bond Prices?," NBER Working Papers 12454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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