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Empirical Proxies for the Consumption-Wealth Ratio

  • Jeremy Rudd

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

  • Karl Whelan

    (Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland)

Using a log-linearized approximation to an aggregate budget constraint, it is possible to show that the ratio of consumption to total (human and non-human) wealth summarizes agents' expectations concerning both future labor income and future asset returns. In a series of recent papers, Lettau and Ludvigson construct an empirical analogue to the consumption-wealth ratio by approximating total wealth with a linear combination of labor income and observable non-human wealth. If valid, this framework suggests that consumption, assets, and labor income will be cointegrated. We demonstrate, however, that standard tests fail to reject the hypothesis of no cointegration once one employs measures of consumption, assets, and labor income that are jointly consistent with an underlying budget constraint. We also show that deviations of consumption, assets, and income from an estimated common trend are unable to predict future excess returns on stocks out of sample once theoretically consistent measures are used. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 9 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 34-51

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:9:y:2006:i:1:p:34-51
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  1. John Y. Campbell & Samuel B. Thompson, 2005. "Predicting the Equity Premium Out of Sample: Can Anything Beat the Historical Average?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2084, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. John Y. Campbell & Pierre Perron, 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know About Unit Roots," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 141-220 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John Y. Campbell, 1992. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Without Consumption Data," NBER Working Papers 3989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Martin Lettau & Sydney Ludvigson, 2001. "Resurrecting the (C)CAPM: A Cross-Sectional Test When Risk Premia Are Time-Varying," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1238-1287, December.
  5. Campbell, John, 1996. "Understanding Risk and Return," Scholarly Articles 3153293, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-80, November.
  7. James G. MacKinnon & Alfred A. Haug & Leo Michelis, 1996. "Numerical Distribution Functions of Likelihood Ratio Tests for Cointegration," Working Papers 1996_07, York University, Department of Economics.
  8. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: US Economic Growth in the Information Age," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 261, OECD Publishing.
  9. Palumbo, Michael & Rudd, Jeremy & Whelan, Karl, 2006. "On the Relationships Between Real Consumption, Income, and Wealth," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 1-11, January.
  10. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
  11. Amit Goyal & Ivo Welch, 2004. "A Comprehensive Look at the Empirical Performance of Equity Premium Prediction," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2412, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Jan 2006.
  12. Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney, 2002. "Time-varying risk premia and the cost of capital: An alternative implication of the Q theory of investment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 31-66, January.
  13. Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney C., 2005. "tay's as good as cay: Reply," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 15-22, March.
  14. Johansen, Soren, 1995. "Likelihood-Based Inference in Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774501, December.
  15. Osterwald-Lenum, Michael, 1992. "A Note with Quantiles of the Asymptotic Distribution of the Maximum Likelihood Cointegration Rank Test Statistics," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 54(3), pages 461-72, August.
  16. Brennan, Michael J. & Xia, Yihong, 2005. "tay's as good as cay," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-14, March.
  17. Wayne E. Ferson & Sergei Sarkissian & Timothy Simin, 2002. "Spurious Regressions in Financial Economics?," NBER Working Papers 9143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Johansen, Soren & Juselius, Katarina, 1990. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation and Inference on Cointegration--With Applications to the Demand for Money," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(2), pages 169-210, May.
  19. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income, and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Martin Lettau & Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2004. "Understanding Trend and Cycle in Asset Values: Reevaluating the Wealth Effect on Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 276-299, March.
  21. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Peter C.B. Phillips & Sam Ouliaris, 1987. "Asymptotic Properties of Residual Based Tests for Cointegration," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 847R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jul 1988.
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