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Risk aversion, the labor margin, and asset pricing in DSGE models

  • Eric T. Swanson

In dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models, the household's labor margin as well as consumption margin affects Arrow-Pratt risk aversion. This paper derives simple, closed-form expressions for risk aversion that take into account the household's labor margin. Ignoring the labor margin can lead to wildly inaccurate measures of the household's true attitudes toward risk. We show that risk premia on assets computed using the stochastic discount factor are proportional to Arrow-Pratt risk aversion, so that measuring risk aversion correctly is crucial for understanding asset prices. Closed-form expressions for risk aversion in DSGE models with generalized recursive preferences and internal and external habits are also derived.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2009-26.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2009-26
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  1. Cochrane, John H. & Campbell, John, 1999. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Scholarly Articles 3119444, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Boldrin, Michele & Christiano, Lawrence J. & Fisher, Jonas D.M., 1997. "Habit Persistence And Asset Returns In An Exchange Economy," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 312-332, June.
  3. 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.
  4. Benveniste, L M & Scheinkman, J A, 1979. "On the Differentiability of the Value Function in Dynamic Models of Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 727-32, May.
  5. TallariniJr., Thomas D., 2000. "Risk-sensitive real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 507-532, June.
  6. Phillippe Weil, 1997. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Risk-Free Rate Puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1833, David K. Levine.
  7. Kihlstrom, Richard E. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1974. "Risk aversion with many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 361-388, July.
  8. 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 519-43, June.
  9. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
  10. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Eric T. Swanson, 2008. "Examining the bond premium puzzle with a DSGE model," Working Paper Series 2007-25, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  11. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "Behavior Towards Risk with Many Commodities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(4), pages 660-67, October.
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