IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v99y2009i1p243-64.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Rare Disasters, Asset Prices, and Welfare Costs

Author

Listed:
  • Robert J. Barro

Abstract

A representative-consumer model with Epstein-Zin-Weil preferences and i.i.d. shocks, including rare disasters, accords with observed equity premia and risk-free rates if the coefficient of relative risk aversion equals 3-4. If the intertemporal elasticity of substitution exceeds one, an increase in uncertainty lowers the price-dividend ratio for equity, and a rise in the expected growth rate raises this ratio. Calibrations indicate that society would willingly reduce GDP by around 20 percent each year to eliminate rare disasters. The welfare cost from usual economic fluctuations is much smaller, though still important, corresponding to lowering GDP by about 1.5 percent each year. (JEL E13, E21, E22, E32)

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Barro, 2009. "Rare Disasters, Asset Prices, and Welfare Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 243-264, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:1:p:243-64
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.1.243
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.99.1.243
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/mar09/20070351_data.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chatterjee, Satyajit & Corbae, Dean, 2007. "On the aggregate welfare cost of Great Depression unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1529-1544, September.
    2. Banerjee, Anindya & Lumsdaine, Robin L & Stock, James H, 1992. "Recursive and Sequential Tests of the Unit-Root and Trend-Break Hypotheses: Theory and International Evidence," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(3), pages 271-287, July.
    3. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    4. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "The Cost of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 964-990, September.
    5. Rietz, Thomas A., 1988. "The equity risk premium a solution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 117-131, July.
    6. Kocherlakota, Narayana R, 1990. " Disentangling the Coefficient of Relative Risk Aversion from the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution: An Irrelevance Result," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(1), pages 175-190, March.
    7. Alberto Giovannini & Philippe Weil, 1989. "Risk Aversion and Intertemporal Substitution in the Capital Asset Pricing Model," NBER Working Papers 2824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Balke, Nathan S & Gordon, Robert J, 1989. "The Estimation of Prewar Gross National Product: Methodology and New Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 38-92, February.
    9. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-357, April.
    10. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2004. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1223-1256, December.
    11. Andrew Atkeson & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "Reconsidering the Costs of Business Cycles with Incomplete Markets," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 187-218 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Evaluating risky consumption paths: The role of intertemporal substitutability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1471-1486, August.
    13. Salyer, Kevin D., 2007. "Macroeconomic priorities and crash states," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 64-70, January.
    14. Gregory D. Hess, 2002. "The Economic Welfare Cost of Conflict: An Empirical Assessment," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-08, Claremont Colleges.
    15. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-1445, November.
    16. Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 823-866.
    17. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-969, July.
    18. Cogley, Timothy, 1990. "International Evidence on the Size of the Random Walk in Output," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 501-518, June.
    19. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1481-1509, August.
    20. Philippe Weil, 1990. "Nonexpected Utility in Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 29-42.
    21. Anne Epaulard & Aude Pommeret, 2003. "Recursive Utility, Endogenous Growth, and the Welfare Cost of Volatility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(3), pages 672-684, July.
    22. repec:fth:harver:1421 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Raj Chetty, 2006. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1821-1834, December.
    24. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
    25. Robert J. Barro, 2005. "Rare Events and the Equity Premium," NBER Working Papers 11310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Cochrane, John H, 1988. "How Big Is the Random Walk in GNP?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 893-920, October.
    27. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Rare Disasters, Asset Prices, and Welfare Costs (AER 2009) in ReplicationWiki

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:1:p:243-64. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.