IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Asset pricing with idiosyncratic risk and overlapping generations

A number of existing studies have concluded that risk sharing allocations supported by competitive, incomplete markets equilibria are quantitatively close to first-best. Equilibrium asset prices in these models have been difficult to distinguish from those associated with a complete markets model, the counterfactual features of which have been widely documented. This paper asks if life cycle considerations, in conjunction with persistent idiosyncratic shocks which become more volatile during aggregate downturns, can reconcile the quantitative properties of the competitive asset pricing framework with those of observed asset returns. We begin by arguing that data from the Panel Study on Income Dynamics support the plausibility of such a shock process. Our estimates suggest a high degree of persistence as well as a substantial increase in idiosyncratic conditional volatility coincident with periods of low growth in U.S. GNP. When these factors are incorporated in a stationary overlapping generations framework, the implications for the return on risky assets are substantial, however not on the order of magnitude required to generate the average equity premium observed on the U.S. stock market. The largest Sharpe ratio our economies can support is roughly 16\%, whereas that associated with the overall sample from the \citeasnoun{Mehra-Prescott-85} data set is 37\%.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business in its series GSIA Working Papers with number 226.

in new window

Date of creation:
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cmu:gsiawp:226
Contact details of provider: Postal: Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Web page:

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
  2. George M. Constantinidies & John B. Donaldson & Rajnish Mehra, 1998. "Junior Can't Borrow: A New Perspective on the Equity Premium Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 6617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. M. Fatih Guvenen, 2003. "A Parsimonious Macroeconomic Model for Asset Pricing: Habit Formation or Cross-sectional Heterogeneity?," RCER Working Papers 499, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  5. Gomes, Francisco J & Michaelides, Alexander, 2007. "Asset Pricing with Limited Risk Sharing and Heterogeneous Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 6136, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 1999. "Quantitative Asset Pricing Implications of Endogenous Solvency Constraints," NBER Working Papers 6953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
  8. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J Jermann, 2010. "Asset Pricing When Risk Sharing is Limited by Default," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1898, David K. Levine.
  9. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2005. "Two Views of Inequality Over the Life Cycle," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 765-775, 04/05.
  10. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Christopher I. & Yaron, Amir, 2004. "Consumption and risk sharing over the life cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 609-633, April.
  11. Marcet, Albert & Singleton, Kenneth J., 1999. "Equilibrium Asset Prices And Savings Of Heterogeneous Agents In The Presence Of Incomplete Markets And Portfolio Constraints," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 243-277, June.
  12. Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Government debt and social security in a life-cycle economy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 61-110, June.
  13. Alon Brav & George M. Constantinides & Christopher C. Geczy, 2002. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers and Limited Participation: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 793-824, August.
  14. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1995. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9510, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  15. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1986. "The Equity Premium and the Concentration of Aggregate Shocks," NBER Working Papers 1788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C., 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Papers 168, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  17. Sumru Altug & Robert A. Miller, 1987. "Household choices in equilibrium," Working Papers 341, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  18. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 1993. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 4249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2002. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory," NBER Working Papers 9202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Aiyagari, S. Rao & Gertler, Mark, 1991. "Asset returns with transactions costs and uninsured individual risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 311-331, June.
  21. Lucas, Deborah J., 1994. "Asset pricing with undiversifiable income risk and short sales constraints: Deepening the equity premium puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 325-341, December.
  22. Weil, Philippe, 1992. "Equilibrium asset prices with undiversifiable labor income risk," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 769-790.
  23. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  24. Michele Boldrin & Lawrence J. Christiano & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2000. "Habit persistence, asset returns and the business cycle," Staff Report 280, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  25. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1991. "The consumption of stockholders and nonstockholders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 97-112, March.
  26. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  27. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521662338 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Kjetil Storesletten, . "Sustaining Fiscal Policy Through Immigration," Homapage Papers _005, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  29. Angus Deaton, 1989. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 3196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 2000. "Portfolio Choice and Asset Prices: The Importance of Entrepreneurial Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1163-1198, 06.
  31. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  32. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity, Portfolio Choice, and Equilibrium Asset Returns," GSIA Working Papers 1997-45, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  33. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  34. Sergei Sarkissian, 2003. "Incomplete Consumption Risk Sharing and Currency Risk Premiums," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(3), pages 983-1005, July.
  35. Attanasio, Orazio & Davis, Steven J, 1996. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1227-62, December.
  36. Zhang, H.H., 1995. "Endogenous Borrowing Constraints with Incomplete Markets," GSIA Working Papers 1995-25, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  37. Ravi Jagannathan & Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Why should older people invest less in stock than younger people?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 11-23.
  38. Timothy Cogley, 1998. "Idiosyncratic risk and the equity premium: evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 98-07, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  39. Bodie, Zvi & Merton, Robert C. & Samuelson, William F., 1992. "Labor supply flexibility and portfolio choice in a life cycle model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 427-449.
  40. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
  41. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  42. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  43. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1994. "On the quantitative importance of market completeness," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 463-496, December.
  45. Den Haan, Wouter J., 1997. "Solving Dynamic Models With Aggregate Shocks And Heterogeneous Agents," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 355-386, June.
  46. Brown, David P, 1990. "Age Clienteles Induced by Liquidity Constraints," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(4), pages 891-912, November.
  47. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Cyclical Dynamics in Idiosyncratic Labor Market Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 695-717, June.
  48. Robert J. Gordon, 1986. "The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord86-1, July.
  49. Chris I. Telmer, 1991. "Asset Pricing Puzzles and Incomplete Markets," Working Papers 806, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  50. Fumio Hayashi & Joseph Altonji & Laurence Kotlikoff, 1991. "Risk-Sharing, Altruism, and the Factor Structure of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 3834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cmu:gsiawp:226. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Steve Spear)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.