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Inflation Risk and Capital Market Equilibrium

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  • Zvi Bodie

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of inflation uncertainty on the portfolio behavior of households and the equilibrium structure of capitol market rates. The principal findings regarding portfolio behavior are: (1.) In the presence of inflation uncertainty, households will have an inflation-hedging demand for assets other than riskless nominal bonds, which will be directly proportional to the covariance between the rate of inflation and the nominal rates of return on these other assets. (2.) An asset is a perfect inflation hedge if and only if its nominal return is perfectly correlated with the rate of inflation. The principal findings regarding capital market rates are: (1.) The equilibrium real yield spread between any risky security and riskless nominal bonds is directly proportional to the difference between the covariance of the security's nominal rate of return with the market portfolio and its covariance with the rate of inflation. (2.) As long as the net supply of monetary assets in the economy is greater than zero, an increase in inflation uncertainty will lower the risk premia on all real assets. (3.) A preliminary empirical test of the theory using rates of return on common stocks, long-term bonds, real estate and commodity futures contracts yields mixed results. The risk premia on long-term bonds and futures have the "wrong" signs.

Suggested Citation

  • Zvi Bodie, 1979. "Inflation Risk and Capital Market Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 0373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0373
    Note: ME
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bodie, Zvi, 1976. "Common Stocks as a Hedge against Inflation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 459-470, May.
    2. Manaster, Steven, 1979. "Real and Nominal Efficient Sets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 34(1), pages 93-102, March.
    3. Solnik, Bruno H., 1978. "Inflation and Optimal Portfolio Choices," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(05), pages 903-925, December.
    4. Black, Fischer, 1972. "Capital Market Equilibrium with Restricted Borrowing," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(3), pages 444-455, July.
    5. Friend, Irwin & Landskroner, Yoram & Losq, Etienne, 1976. "The Demand for Risky Assets under Uncertain Inflation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(5), pages 1287-1297, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "Should Private Pensions Be Indexed?," NBER Chapters,in: Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System, pages 211-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. J. Benson Durham, 2006. "An estimate of the inflation risk premium using a three-factor affine term structure model," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Zvi Bodie & Alex Kane & Robert L. McDonald, 1983. "Why Are Real Interest Rates So High?," NBER Working Papers 1141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Zvi Bodie & Alex Kane & Robert McDonald, 1985. "Inflation and the Role of Bonds in Investor Portfolios," NBER Chapters,in: Corporate Capital Structures in the United States, pages 167-196 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Zvi Bodie, 1980. "Purchasing-Power Annuities: Financial Innovation for Stable Real Retirement Income in an Inflationary Environment," NBER Working Papers 0442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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