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Why do risk premia vary over time? A theoretical investigation under habit formation

  • De Paoli, Bianca


    (Bank of England)

  • Zabczyk, Pawel


    (Bank of England)

Empirical evidence suggests that risk premia are higher at business cycle troughs than they are at peaks. Existing asset pricing theories ascribe moves in risk premia to changes in volatility or risk aversion. Nevertheless, in a simple general equilibrium model, risk premia can be procyclical even though the volatility of consumption is constant and despite a countercyclically varying risk aversion coefficient. We show that agents' expectations about future prospects also influence premium dynamics. In order to generate countercyclically varying premia, as found in the data, one requires a combination of hump-shaped consumption dynamics or highly persistent shocks and habits. Our results, thus, suggest that factors which help match activity data may also help along the asset pricing dimension.

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Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 361.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 16 Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0361
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  1. Bianca De Paoli, Alasdair Scott, Olaf Weeken, 2007. "Asset pricing implications for a New Keynesian model," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 156, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  2. Adrien Verdelhan, 2006. "A Habit-Based Explanation of the Exchange Rate Risk Premium," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-047, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  3. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Eric T. Swanson, 2008. "Examining the bond premium puzzle with a DSGE model," Working Paper Series 2007-25, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Hanno Lustig & Adrien Verdelhan, 2006. "The Cross-Section of Foreign Currency Risk Premia and Consumption Growth Risk," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-045, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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