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A Parsimonious Macroeconomic Model for Asset Pricing: Habit Formation or Cross-sectional Heterogeneity?

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In this paper we study the asset pricing implications of a parsimonious two-agent macroeconomic model with two key features: limited participation in the stock market and heterogeneity in the elasticity of intertemporal substitution. The parameter values for the model are taken from the real business cycle literature and are not calibrated to match any financial statistic. Yet, with a risk aversion of two, the model is able to explain a large number of asset pricing phenomena including all the facts matched by the external habit model of Campbell and Cochrane (1999). Examples in this list include a high equity premium and a low risk-free rate; a counter-cyclical risk premium, volatility and Sharpe ratio; predictable stock returns with coe?cients and R2 values of long-horizon regressions matching their empirical counterparts, among others. In addition the model generates a risk-free rate with low volatility (5.7 percent annually) and with high persistence. We also show that the similarity of our results to those from an external habit model is not a coincidence: the model has a reduced form representation which is extremely similar to Campbell and Cochrane’s framework for asset pricing. However, the macroeconomic implications of the two models are very different, favoring the limited participation model. Moreover, we show that policy analysis yields dramatically different conclusions in each framework.

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Paper provided by University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER) in its series RCER Working Papers with number 499.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:roc:rocher:499

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Postal: University of Rochester, Center for Economic Research, Department of Economics, Harkness 231 Rochester, New York 14627 U.S.A.

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Keywords: Limited stock market participation; asset pricing; the equity premium puzzle; incomplete markets; habit formation; elasticity of intertemporal substitution.;

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