IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ecl/upafin/00-1.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles

Author

Listed:
  • Alvarez, Fernando

    (U of Chicago)

  • Jermann, Urban J.

    (U of Pennsylvania and Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

Abstract

We propose a method to measure the welfare cost of economic fluctuations that does not require full specification of consumer preferences and instead uses asset prices. The method is based on the marginal cost of consumption fluctuations, the per unit benefit of a marginal reduction in consumption fluctuations expressed as a percentage of consumption. We show that this measure is an upper bound for the benefit of reducing all consumption fluctuations. We also clarify the link between the cost of consumption uncertainty, the equity premium, and the slope of the real term structure. To measure the marginal cost of fluctuations, we fit a variety of pricing kernels that reproduce key asset pricing statistics. We find that consumers would be willing to pay a very high price for a reduction in overall consumption uncertainty. However, for consumption fluctuations corresponding to business cycle frequencies, we estimate the marginal cost to be about 0.55% of lifetime consumption based on the period 1889-1997 and about 0.30% based on 1954-97.

Suggested Citation

  • Alvarez, Fernando & Jermann, Urban J., 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Working Papers 00-1, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:upafin:00-1
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://finance.wharton.upenn.edu/~jermann/cbcjuly03.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Jim Dolmas, 1998. "Risk Preferences and the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 646-676, July.
    3. John Y. Campbell, 1986. "Bond and Stock Returns in a Simple Exchange Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 785-803.
    4. TallariniJr., Thomas D., 2000. "Risk-sensitive real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 507-532, June.
    5. 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 263-286, April.
    6. Campbell, John Y, 1996. "Understanding Risk and Return," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 298-345, April.
    7. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Evaluating risky consumption paths: The role of intertemporal substitutability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1471-1486, August.
    8. van Wincoop, Eric, 1999. "How big are potential welfare gains from international risksharing?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 109-135, February.
    9. Otrok, Christopher, 2001. "On measuring the welfare cost of business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-92, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Andrew Atkeson & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "Reconsidering the Costs of Business Cycles with Incomplete Markets," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 187-218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 1999. "On the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 245-272, January.
    13. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J Sargent, 2014. "Robust Permanent Income and Pricing," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: UNCERTAINTY WITHIN ECONOMIC MODELS, chapter 3, pages 33-81, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    14. Karen K. Lewis, 1996. "Consumption, stock returns, and the gains from international risk-sharing," Working Papers 96-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    15. 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 519-543, June.
    16. Rietz, Thomas A., 1988. "The equity risk premium a solution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 117-131, July.
    17. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1, June.
    18. Abel, Andrew B., 1999. "Risk premia and term premia in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 3-33, February.
    19. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "The Cost of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 964-990, September.
    2. Campbell, John Y., 2003. "Consumption-based asset pricing," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 803-887, Elsevier.
    3. Ricardo Reis, 2009. "The Time-Series Properties of Aggregate Consumption: Implications for the Costs of Fluctuations," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 722-753, June.
    4. van Binsbergen, Jules H. & Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Koijen, Ralph S.J. & Rubio-Ramírez, Juan, 2012. "The term structure of interest rates in a DSGE model with recursive preferences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 634-648.
    5. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "The Cost of Business Cycles and the Benefits of Stabilization: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Otrok, Christopher, 2001. "On measuring the welfare cost of business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-92, February.
    7. Posch, Olaf, 2011. "Risk premia in general equilibrium," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1557-1576, September.
    8. Longstaff, Francis A. & Piazzesi, Monika, 2004. "Corporate earnings and the equity premium," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 401-421, December.
    9. Anne Epaulard & Aude Pommeret, 2003. "Recursive Utility, Endogenous Growth, and the Welfare Cost of Volatility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(3), pages 672-684, July.
    10. Houssa, Romain, 2013. "Uncertainty about welfare effects of consumption fluctuations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 35-62.
    11. Gadi Barlevy, 2005. "The cost of business cycles and the benefits of stabilization," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, vol. 29(Q I), pages 32-49.
    12. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
    13. Sialm, Clemens, 2006. "Stochastic taxation and asset pricing in dynamic general equilibrium," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 511-540, March.
    14. John Y. Campbell, 2000. "Asset Pricing at the Millennium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1515-1567, August.
    15. Pancrazi, Roberto, 2014. "How beneficial was the Great Moderation after all?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 73-90.
    16. Cochrane, John H., 2005. "Financial Markets and the Real Economy," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 1(1), pages 1-101, July.
    17. Ludvigson, Sydney C., 2013. "Advances in Consumption-Based Asset Pricing: Empirical Tests," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 799-906, Elsevier.
    18. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
    19. TallariniJr., Thomas D., 2000. "Risk-sensitive real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 507-532, June.
    20. Ensar Yılmaz, 2014. "Welfare Costs of Business Cycles in Turkey," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 195-211, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:upafin:00-1. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/wcupaus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/wcupaus.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.