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Preferences, Consumption Smoothing, and Risk Premia

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  • Lettau, Martin
  • Uhlig, Harald

Abstract

Risk premia in the consumption capital asset pricing model depend on preferences and dividends. We develop a decomposition which allows for the separate treatment of both components. We show that preferences alone determine the risk-return trade-off measured by the Sharpe-ratio. In general, the risk-return trade-off implied by preferences depends on the elasticity of a preference-based stochastic discount factor for pricing assets with respect to the consumption innovation. Depending on the particular specification of preferences, the absolute value of this elasticity may coincide with the inverse of the elasticity of intertemporal substitution (e.g. for habit formation preferences) or the coefficient of relative risk-aversion (e.g. for Epstein-Zin preferences). We demonstrate that preferences based on a small elasticity of intertemporal substitution, such as habit formation, produce small risk premia once agents are allowed to save. Departing from the complete markets framework, we show that uninsurable risk can only increase the Sharpe-ratio and risk premia if dividends are correlated with individual consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Lettau, Martin & Uhlig, Harald, 1997. "Preferences, Consumption Smoothing, and Risk Premia," CEPR Discussion Papers 1678, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1678
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-240, April.
    3. Alberto Giovannini & Philippe Weil, 1989. "Risk Aversion and Intertemporal Substitution in the Capital Asset Pricing Model," NBER Working Papers 2824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Abel, Andrew B, 1990. "Asset Prices under Habit Formation and Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 38-42, May.
    5. 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.
    6. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "The equity premium puzzle and the risk-free rate puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 401-421, November.
    7. repec:fth:harver:1421 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Campbell, John Y, 1993. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing without Consumption Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 487-512, June.
    9. Campbell, John Y., 1994. "Inspecting the mechanism: An analytical approach to the stochastic growth model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 463-506, June.
    10. John H. Cochrane & Lars Peter Hansen, 1992. "Asset Pricing Explorations for Macroeconomics," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 115-182 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cepii & Cepremap, 2001. "MARMOTTE : a Multinational Model," Working Papers 2001-15, CEPII research center.
    2. Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2007. "Pricing Risk in Economies with Heterogeneous Agents and Incomplete Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 987-1015, September.
    3. Douch, Mohamed, 2004. "Equity Premiums In Small Open Economy," MPRA Paper 14613, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Martin Lettau, 2000. "Cross-variable restrictions in Euler equations and risk premia," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 99-101.
    5. Andreas Hornstein & Harald Uhlig, 2000. "What is the Real Story for Interest Rate Volatility?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(1), pages 43-67, February.
    6. Chiarella Carl & Semmler Willi & Mittnik Stefan & Zhu Peiyuan, 2002. "Stock Market, Interest Rate and Output: A Model and Estimation for US Time Series Data," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-39, April.
    7. Olivier Allais & Loic Cadiou & Stéphane Dees, 2001. "Defining Consumption Behaviour in a Multi-Country Model," Working Papers 2001-02, CEPII research center.
    8. Lawrence J. Christiano & Michele Boldrin & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2001. "Habit Persistence, Asset Returns, and the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 149-166, March.
    9. Tack Yun & Wooheon Rhee, 2004. "Implications of Quasi-Geometric Discounting on the Observable Sharpe Ratio," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 243, Econometric Society.
    10. Aude Pommeret & Anne Epaulard, 2001. "Agents’ Preferences, the Equity Premium, and the Consumption-Saving Trade-Off; An Application to French Data," IMF Working Papers 01/117, International Monetary Fund.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asset Prices; Consumption; Preferences; Risk Aversion; Risk Premia;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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