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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. Aschauer, David Alan, 1985. "Fiscal Policy and Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 117-27, March.
  2. Mankiw, N.G. & Zeldes, S.P., 1990. "The Consumption Of Stockholders And Non-Stockholders," Weiss Center Working Papers 23-90, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  3. Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1987. "Proper Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 143-54, January.
  4. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Keeping Up with the Joneses: Consumption Externalities, Portfolio Choice, and Asset Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(1), pages 1-8, February.
  5. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  6. Abel, A.B., 1990. "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation And Catching Up With The Joneses," Weiss Center Working Papers 1-90, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  7. 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.
  8. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-43, June.
  9. 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.
  10. Michele Boldrin & Lawrence J. Christiano & Jonas D.M. Fisher, 1997. "Habit persistence and asset returns in an exchange economy," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  11. 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.
  12. Maddala, G S, 1971. "The Use of Variance Components Models in Pooling Cross Section and Time Series Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(2), pages 341-58, March.
  13. 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.
  14. Cochrane, John H. & Campbell, John, 1999. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Scholarly Articles 3119444, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Ferson, Wayne E. & Constantinides, George M., 1991. "Habit persistence and durability in aggregate consumption: Empirical tests," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 199-240, October.
  16. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  17. Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
  18. Eichenbaum, Martin S & Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1988. "A Time Series Analysis of Representative Agent Models of Consumption and Leisure Choice under Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 51-78, February.
  19. repec:cup:macdyn:v:1:y:1997:i:2:p:312-32 is not listed on IDEAS
  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.
  21. Scott, Alasdair, 2003. "APPLIED MACROECONOMETRICS Carlo A. Favero Oxford University Press, 2001," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 313-315, April.
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