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An Asset Allocation Puzzle


  • Canner, Niko
  • Mankiw, N Gregory
  • Weil, David N


This paper examines popular advice on portfolio allocation among cash, bonds, and stocks. It documents that this advice is inconsistent with the mutual-fund separation theorem, which states that all investors should hold the same composition of risky assets. In contrast to the theorem, popular advisors recommend that aggressive investors hold a lower ratio of bonds to stocks than conservative investors. The paper explores various possible explanations of this puzzle and finds them unsatisfactory. Copyright 1997 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Canner, Niko & Mankiw, N Gregory & Weil, David N, 1997. "An Asset Allocation Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 181-191, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:87:y:1997:i:1:p:181-91

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Campbell, John Y., 1987. "Stock returns and the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 373-399, June.
    2. Campbell, John Y. & Hentschel, Ludger, 1992. "No news is good news *1: An asymmetric model of changing volatility in stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 281-318, June.
    3. Merton, Robert C, 1973. "An Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 867-887, September.
    4. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Can Small Deviations from Rationality Make Significant Differences to Economic Equilibria?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 708-720, September.
    5. Stanley Fischer, 1983. "Investing for the Short and the Long Term," NBER Chapters,in: Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System, pages 153-176 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Eldar Shafir & Peter Diamond & Amos Tversky, 1997. "Money Illusion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 341-374.
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    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions


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