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Consumption and Portfolio Decisions When Expected Returns Are Time Varying

  • John Y. Campbell
  • Luis M. Viceira

This paper proposes and implements a new approach to a classic unsolved problem in financial economics: the optimal consumption and portfolio choice problem of a long-lived investor facing time-varying investment opportunities. The investor is assumed to be infinitely lived, to have recursive Epstein-Zin-Weil utility, and to choose in discrete time between a riskless asset with a constant return, and a risky asset with constant return variance whose expected log return follows an AR(1) process. The paper approximates the choice problem by log-linearizing the budget constraint and Euler equations, and derives an analytical solution to the approximate problem. When the model is calibrated to US stock market data it implies that intertemporal hedging motives greatly increase, and may even double, the average demand for stocks by long-lived investors whose risk-aversion coefficients exceed one. The optimal portfolio policy also involves timing the stock market. Failure to time or to hedge can cause large welfare losses relative to the optimal policy.

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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1835.

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Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1835
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  1. Viceira, Luis & Campbell, John, 2001. "Who Should Buy Long-Term Bonds?," Scholarly Articles 3128709, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. John Y. Campbell & Luis M. Viceira, 1999. "Consumption And Portfolio Decisions When Expected Returns Are Time Varying," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 433-495, May.
  3. Campbell, John, 1987. "Stock Returns and the Term Structure," Scholarly Articles 3207699, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Cox, John C. & Huang, Chi-fu, 1989. "Optimal consumption and portfolio policies when asset prices follow a diffusion process," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 33-83, October.
  5. Phillippe Weil, 1997. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Risk-Free Rate Puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1833, David K. Levine.
  6. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1988. "Dividend yields and expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-25, October.
  7. Brennan, Michael J. & Schwartz, Eduardo S. & Lagnado, Ronald, 1997. "Strategic asset allocation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(8-9), pages 1377-1403, June.
  8. Alberto Giovannini & Philippe Weil, 1989. "Risk Aversion and Intertemporal Substitution in the Capital Asset Pricing Model," NBER Working Papers 2824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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