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Inflation and the price of real assets


  • Monika Piazzesi
  • Martin Schneider


In the 1970s, U.S. asset markets witnessed (i) a 25% dip in the ratio of aggregate household wealth relative to GDP and (ii) negative comovement of house and stock prices that drove a 20% portfolio shift out of equity into real estate. This study uses an overlapping generations model with uninsurable nominal risk to quantify the role of structural change in these events. We attribute the dip in wealth to the entry of baby boomers into asset markets, and to the erosion of bond portfolios by surprise inflation, both of which lowered the overall propensity to save. We also show that the Great Inflation led to a portfolio shift by making housing more attractive than equity. Apart from tax effects, a new channel is that disagreement about inflation across age groups drives up collateral prices when credit is nominal. ; This paper is an extension of Monika Piazzesi's and Martin Schneider's work while they were in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Suggested Citation

  • Monika Piazzesi & Martin Schneider, 2009. "Inflation and the price of real assets," Staff Report 423, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:423

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Krainer, John, 2001. "A Theory of Liquidity in Residential Real Estate Markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 32-53, January.
    2. Miller, Edward M, 1977. "Risk, Uncertainty, and Divergence of Opinion," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1151-1168, September.
    3. Wheaton, William C, 1990. "Vacancy, Search, and Prices in a Housing Market Matching Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1270-1292, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mathias Hoffmann & Thomas Nitschka, 2008. "Securitization of Mortgage Debt, Asset Prices and International Risk Sharing," IEW - Working Papers 376, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Matteo Iacoviello & Stefano Neri, 2010. "Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from an Estimated DSGE Model," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 125-164, April.
    3. Piazzesi, M. & Schneider, M., 2016. "Housing and Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    4. Monika Piazzesi & Martin Schneider, 2007. "Equilibrium Yield Curves," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 389-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Demary, Markus, 2009. "The Link between Output, Inflation, Monetary Policy and Housing Price Dynamics," MPRA Paper 15978, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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