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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. John H. Cochrane & Lars Peter Hansen, 1992. "Asset Pricing Explorations for Macroeconomics," NBER Working Papers 4088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  3. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  6. Aiyagari, S. Rao & Gertler, Mark, 1990. "Asset Returns With Transactions Costs And Uninsured Individual Risk: A Stage Iii Exercise," Working Papers 90-43, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  7. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1986. "The Equity Premium and the Concentration of Aggregate Shocks," NBER Working Papers 1788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244, December.
  12. Philippe Weil, 1989. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Riskfree Rate Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 2829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Hansen, Lars Peter & Jagannathan, Ravi, 1991. "Implications of Security Market Data for Models of Dynamic Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 225-62, April.
  14. 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.
  15. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  16. Weil, P., 1991. "Equilibrium Asset Prices with Undiversifiable Labor Income Risk," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1564, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  17. 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.
  18. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, . "Persistent Idiosyncratic Shocks and Incomplete Markets," GSIA Working Papers 24, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  19. S Rao Aiyagari & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Asset Returns with transaction costs and uninsured individual risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 648, David K. Levine.
  20. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 1993. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 4249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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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