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Euler Equation Errors


  • Lettau, Martin
  • Ludvigson, Sydney


Among the most important pieces of empirical evidence against the standard representative agent, consumption-based asset pricing paradigm are the formidable unconditional Euler equation errors the model produces for cross-sections of asset returns. Here we ask whether calibrated leading asset pricing models - specifically developed to address empirical puzzles associated with the standard paradigm - explain the mispricing of the standard consumption-based model when evaluated on cross-sections of asset returns. We find that, in many cases, they do not. We present several results. First, we show that if the true pricing kernel that sets the unconditional Euler equation errors to zero is jointly lognormally distributed with aggregate consumption and returns, such a kernel will not rationalize the magnitude of the pricing errors generated by the standard model, particularly when the curvature of utility is high. Second, we show that leading asset pricing models also do not explain the significant mispricing of the standard paradigm for plausibly calibrated sets of asset returns, even though in those models the pricing kernel, returns, and consumption are not jointly lognormally distributed. Third, in contrast to the above results, we provide one example of a limited participation/incomplete markets model capable of explaining larger pricing errors for the standard model; but we also find many examples of such models, in which the consumption of marginal assetholders behaves quite differently from per capita aggregate consumption, that do not explain the large Euler equation errors of the standard representative agent model.

Suggested Citation

  • Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney, 2005. "Euler Equation Errors," CEPR Discussion Papers 5245, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5245

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gomes, Fábio Augusto Reis & Ribeiro, Priscila Fernandes, 2015. "Estimating the elasticity of intertemporal substitution taking into account the precautionary savings motive," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 108-123.
    2. Drew Creal & Siem Jan Koopman & André Lucas & Marcin Zamojski, 2015. "Generalized Autoregressive Method of Moments," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-138/III, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. repec:eee:reveco:v:51:y:2017:i:c:p:157-173 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. George M. Constantinides & Anisha Ghosh, 2011. "Asset Pricing Tests with Long-run Risks in Consumption Growth," Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 96-136.
    5. Martin Lettau & Sydney Ludvigson, 2009. "Euler Equation Errors," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(2), pages 255-283, April.
    6. Ravi Bansal & A. Ronald Gallant & George Tauchen, 2007. "Rational Pessimism, Rational Exuberance, and Asset Pricing Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(4), pages 1005-1033.
    7. Bjørn Eraker, 2008. "Affine General Equilibrium Models," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(12), pages 2068-2080, December.
    8. Bansal, Ravi & Kiku, Dana & Yaron, Amir, 2016. "Risks for the long run: Estimation with time aggregation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 52-69.
    9. Raghu Suryanarayanan, 2006. "Implications of Anticipated Regret and Endogenous Beliefs for Equilibrium Asset Prices: A Theoretical Framework," CSEF Working Papers 162, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    10. Sydney Ludvigson, 2008. "The Research Agenda: Sydney Ludvigson on Empirical Evaluation of Economic Theories of Risk Premia," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), April.
    11. Howitt, Peter, 2012. "What have central bankers learned from modern macroeconomic theory?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 11-22.
    12. Ludvigson, Sydney C., 2013. "Advances in Consumption-Based Asset Pricing: Empirical Tests," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, Elsevier.
    13. Saziye Gaziog-super-˜lu & Azize Bastıyalı-Hayfavi, 2010. "Stochastic optimization applied to self-financing portfolio: does bequest matter?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(30), pages 3831-3838.

    More about this item


    consumption CAPM; pricing errors;

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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