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Idiosyncratic risk and volatility bounds, or can models with idiosyncratic risk solve the equity premium puzzle?

  • Martin Lettau

This paper uses Hansen and Jagannathan's (1991) volatility bounds to evaluate models with idiosyncratic consumption risk. I show that idiosyncratic risk does not change the volatility bounds at all when consumers have CRRA preferences and the distribution of the idiosyncratic shock is independent of the aggregate state. Following Mankiw (1986), I then show that idiosyncratic risk can help to enter the bounds when idiosyncratic uncertainty depends on the aggregate state of the economy. Since individual consumption data are not reliable, I compute an upper bound of the volatility bounds using individual income data and assume that agents have to consume their endowment. I find that the model does not pass the Hansen and Jagannathan test even for very volatile idiosyncratic income data.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 130.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:130
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  1. Sydney C. Ludvigson & Alexander Michaelides, 2001. "Does Buffer-Stock Saving Explain the Smoothness and Excess Sensitivity of Consumption?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 631-647, June.
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  3. Hua He and David M. Modest., 1992. "Market Frictions and Consumption-Based Asset Pricing," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-223, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  5. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Lucas, Deborah J., 1994. "Asset pricing with undiversifiable income risk and short sales constraints: Deepening the equity premium puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 325-341, December.
  7. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  8. John H. Cochrane & Lars Peter Hansen, 1992. "Asset Pricing Explorations for Macroeconomics," NBER Working Papers 4088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Timothy Cogley, 1998. "Idiosyncratic risk and the equity premium: evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 98-07, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
  11. Phillippe Weil, 1997. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Risk-Free Rate Puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1833, David K. Levine.
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  13. Weil, Philippe, 1992. "Equilibrium asset prices with undiversifiable labor income risk," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 769-790.
  14. Lars Peter Hansen & Ravi Jagannathan, 1990. "Implications of security market data for models of dynamic economies," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 29, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  16. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah J, 1996. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 443-87, June.
  17. Wouter J. Den Haan, 1996. "Understanding Equilibrium Models with a Small and a Large Number of Agents," NBER Working Papers 5792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1986. "The equity premium and the concentration of aggregate shocks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 211-219, September.
  20. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  21. S Rao Aiyagari & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Asset Returns with transaction costs and uninsured individual risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 648, David K. Levine.
  22. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, . "Persistent Idiosyncratic Shocks and Incomplete Markets," GSIA Working Papers 24, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  23. Cogley, Timothy, 2002. "Idiosyncratic risk and the equity premium: evidence from the consumer expenditure survey," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 309-334, March.
  24. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244, March.
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