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Human Capital and Popular Investment Advice

  • Glenn Boyle
  • Graeme Guthrie

Popular investment advice recommends that stock/bond and stock/wealth ratios should rise with investor risk tolerance and investment horizon respectively, prescriptions that are difficult to reconcile with the simple mean-variance model. We show that extending the mean-variance model to include human capital, without any other modifications, can simultaneously justify both recommendations, so long as the correlation between labour income and stock returns falls within a range determined by market and investor-specific parameters. Aggregate labour income data from 11 countries generally satisfy this requirement, as do plausible individual income processes. We also consider the implications of human capital for the optimal bond/wealth ratio over the investment horizon, and examine the sensitivity of the stock/bond mix to the volatility of labour income. Copyright Springer 2005

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10679-005-7595-1
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of Finance.

Volume (Year): 9 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 139-164

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Handle: RePEc:kap:eurfin:v:9:y:2005:i:2:p:139-164
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://springerlink.metapress.com/link.asp?id=111870

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  1. Luis M. Viceira, 2001. "Optimal Portfolio Choice for Long-Horizon Investors with Nontradable Labor Income," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(2), pages 433-470, 04.
  2. Elton, Edwin J. & Gruber, Martin J., 2000. "The Rationality of Asset Allocation Recommendations," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(01), pages 27-41, March.
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  4. Canner, Niko & Mankiw, N Gregory & Weil, David N, 1997. "An Asset Allocation Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 181-91, March.
  5. Campbell, John Y. & Viceira, Luis M., 2002. "Strategic Asset Allocation: Portfolio Choice for Long-Term Investors," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296942, March.
  6. John Y. Campbell & Luis M. Viceira, 1998. "Who Should Buy Long-Term Bonds?," NBER Working Papers 6801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Haim Shalit & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 2003. "An Asset Allocation Puzzle: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 1002-1008, June.
  8. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 2000. "Portfolio Choice and Asset Prices: The Importance of Entrepreneurial Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1163-1198, 06.
  9. Bodie, Zvi & Merton, Robert C. & Samuelson, William F., 1992. "Labor supply flexibility and portfolio choice in a life cycle model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 427-449.
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