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The Wealth-Consumption Ratio

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  • Hanno Lustig
  • Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh
  • Adrien Verdelhan

Abstract

We derive new estimates of total wealth, the returns on total wealth, and the wealth effect on consumption. We estimate the prices of aggregate risk from bond yields and stock returns using a no-arbitrage model. Using these risk prices, we compute total wealth as the price of a claim to aggregate consumption. We find that U.S. households have a surprising amount of total wealth, most of it human wealth. This wealth is much less risky than stock market wealth. Events in long-term bond markets, not stock markets, drive most total wealth fluctuations. The wealth effect on consumption is small and varies over time with real interest rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Adrien Verdelhan, 2013. "The Wealth-Consumption Ratio," Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 38-94.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rasset:v:3:y:2013:i:1:p:38-94.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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