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Inflation risk and the cross section of stock returns

I establish that inflation risk is priced in the cross section of stock returns: Stocks that have low returns during inflationary times command a risk premium. I estimate a market price of inflation risk that is comparable in magnitude to the price of risk for the aggregate market. Inflation is therefore a key determinant of risk in the cross section of stocks. The inflation premium cannot be explained by either the Fama-French factors or industry effects. Instead, I argue the premium arises because high inflation lowers expectations of future real consumption growth. To formalize and test this hypothesis, I develop a consumption-based general equilibrium model. The model generates a price of inflation risk consistent with my empirical estimates, while simultaneously matching the joint dynamics of consumption and inflation, the aggregate equity premium, and the level and slope of the yield curve. My model suggests that the costs of inflation are significant: A representative agent would be willing to give up 1.5 percent of lifetime consumption to eliminate all inflation risk.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 621.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:621
Note: This paper, and a second paper (“The Stock Market Price of Inflation Risk and Its Variation over Time”, by Martijn Boons, Frans de Roon and Marta Szymanowska)will be superseded by an forthcoming paper.
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  1. Andrew B. Abel, 1998. "Risk Premia and Term Premia in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 6683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1996. " Multifactor Explanations of Asset Pricing Anomalies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 55-84, March.
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  10. Campbell, John Y, 1991. "A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 157-79, March.
  11. Caldara, Dario & Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Rubio-Ramírez, Juan Francisco & Yao, Wen, 2009. "Computing DSGE Models with Recursive Preferences," CEPR Discussion Papers 7312, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  17. Jonathan A. Parker & Christian Julliard, 2004. "Consumption Risk and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns," Working Papers 138, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics.
  18. Xavier Gabaix, 2008. "Variable Rare Disasters: A Tractable Theory of Ten Puzzles in Macro-finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 64-67, May.
  19. Randolph B. Cohen & Christopher Polk & Tuomo Vuolteenaho, 2005. "Money Illusion in the Stock Market: The Modigliani-Cohn Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 11018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-36, May-June.
  21. Ang, Andrew & Kristensen, Dennis, 2012. "Testing conditional factor models," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 132-156.
  22. Olesya V. Grishchenko & Jing-zhi Huang, 2012. "Inflation risk premium: evidence from the TIPS market," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-06, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  23. Tim Bollerslev, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 1986/01, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
  24. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-65, June.
  25. Ralph S. J. Koijen & Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Adrien Verdelhan, 2010. "Long Run Risk, the Wealth-Consumption Ratio, and the Temporal Pricing of Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 552-56, May.
  26. Randolph B. Cohen & Christopher Polk & Tuomo Vuolteenaho, 2005. "Money Illusion in the Stock Market: The Modigliani-Cohn Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 639-668.
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