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The Impact of Consumer Confidence on Expected Utility Maximization: A Contribution to the Equity Premium Puzzle Literature

  • Vincenzo Merella

    (Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Birkbeck)

  • Steve Satchell

    (Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Birkbeck)

An omitted variable in the household's preferences specification may lead to overestimate the volatility of consumption, or alternatively to overvalue the risk aversion coefficient required to match the equity premium. This paper proposes to augment the utility function by adding a nontradable variable that is not under the consumer's direct control. We regard this variable as reflecting additional information on the household optimizing behaviour, and suggest two measures of consumer confidence as proxies for it. We find that the new specification of preferences eliminates the equity premium puzzle. In addition, we argue that the standard assumption of joint log-normality may not be supported by empirical evidence.

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File URL: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/ems/research/wp/PDF/BWPEF0525.pdf
File Function: First version, 2005
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Paper provided by Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics in its series Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance with number 0525.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:bbk:bbkefp:0525
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  1. Andrew B. Abel, . "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation and Catching Up With the Jones," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 01-90, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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  12. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  13. Wayne E. Ferson & George M. Constantinides, 1991. "Habit Persistence and Durability in Aggregate Consumption: Empirical Tests," NBER Working Papers 3631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
  15. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  16. Startz, Richard, 1989. "The Stochastic Behavior of Durable and Nondurable Consumption," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 356-63, May.
  17. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
  18. Gali, J., 1992. "Keeping Up with the Joneses: Consumption Externalities, Portfolio Choice and Asset Prices," Papers 92-22, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  19. 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 937-69, July.
  20. Karni, Edi, 1983. "Risk Aversion for State-Dependent Utility Functions: Measurement and Applications," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 637-47, October.
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