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Optimal life cycle asset allocation : understanding the empirical evidence

  • Alexander Michaelides
  • Francisco J. Gomes

We show that a life-cycle model with realistically calibrated uninsurable labor income risk and moderate risk aversion can simultaneously match stock market participation rates and asset allocation decisions conditional on participation. The key ingredients of the model are Epstein–Zin preferences, a fixed stock market entry cost, and moderate heterogeneity in risk aversion. Households with low risk aversion smooth earnings shocks with a small buffer stock of assets, and consequently most of them (optimally) never invest in equities. Therefore, the marginal stockholders are (endogenously) more risk averse, and as a result they do not invest their portfolios fully in stocks.

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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 193.

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Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Finance, April, 2005, 60(2), pp. 869-904. ISSN: 1540-6261
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:193
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