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Distribution Risk and Equity Returns

  • Jean-Pierre Danthine
  • John B. Donaldson
  • Paolo Siconolfi

In this paper we entertain the hypothesis that observed variations in income shares are the result of changes in the balance of power between workers and capital owners in labor relations. We show that this view implies that income share variations represent a risk factor of ¯rst-order importance for the owners of capital and, consequently, are a crucial determinant of the return to equity. When both risks are calibrated to observations, this distribution risk dominates in importance the usual systematic risk for the pricing of assets. We also show that distribution risks may originate in non-traded idiosyncratic income shocks.

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Paper provided by Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP in its series Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) with number 05.10.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in The Equity Risk Premium, R. Mehra, ed., North Holland Handbook of Finance Series, Elsevier, North Holland, Amsterdam, 2008
Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:05.10
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP, Internef, CH-1015 Lausanne

Phone: ++41 21 692.33.20
Web page: http://www.hec.unil.ch/deep/publications/cahiers/series
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  1. M. Fatih Guvenen, 2003. "A Parsimonious Macroeconomic Model for Asset Pricing: Habit Formation or Cross-sectional Heterogeneity?," RCER Working Papers 499, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  2. Abel, Andrew B, 1990. "Asset Prices under Habit Formation and Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 38-42, May.
  3. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2002. "The Equity Premium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 637-659, 04.
  4. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2005. "Taxes, regulations, and the value of U.S. and U.K. corporations," Staff Report 309, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Philippe Jorion & William N. Goetzmann, 2000. "A Century of Global Stock Markets," NBER Working Papers 7565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Dow, James Jr., 1995. "Real business cycles and labor markets with imperfectly flexible wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1683-1696, December.
  7. J. Danthine & J. Donaldson & R. Mehra, 2010. "The equity premium and the allocation of income risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1398, David K. Levine.
  8. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
  9. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1995. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  11. Michele Boldrin & Michael Horvath, 1994. "Labor Contracts and Business Cycles," Discussion Papers 1068, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "The Equity Premium: It's Still a Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 42-71, March.
  13. Michele Boldrin & Lawrence J. Christiano & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2000. "Habit persistence, asset returns and the business cycle," Staff Report 280, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Jean-Pierre Danthine & John B. Donaldson, 2002. "Labour Relations and Asset Returns," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 41-64.
  15. Michele Boldrin & Adrian Peralta-Alva, 2009. "What happened to the US stock market? Accounting for the last 50 years," Working Papers 2009-042, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  16. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  17. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2000. "Is the stock market overvalued?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 20-40.
  18. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-40, April.
  19. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
  20. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
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