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Portfolio Choice over the Life-Cycle in the Presence of 'Trickle Down' Labor Income

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  • Luca Benzoni
  • Pierre Collin-Dufresne
  • Robert S. Goldstein

Abstract

Empirical evidence shows that changes in aggregate labor income and stock market returns exhibit only weak correlation at short horizons. As we document below, however, this correlation increases substantially at longer horizons, which provides at least suggestive evidence that stock returns and labor income are cointegrated. In this paper, we investigate the implications of such a cointegrated relation for life-cycle optimal portfolio and consumption decisions of an agent whose non-tradable labor income faces permanent and temporary idiosyncratic shocks. We find that, under economically plausible calibrations, the optimal portfolio choice for the young investor is to take a substantial {\em short} position in the risky portfolio, in spite of the large risk premium associated with it. Intuitively, this occurs because the cointegration effect makes the present value of future labor income flows `stock-like' for the young agent. However, for older agents who have shorter times-to-retirement, the cointegration effect does not have sufficient time to act, and the remaining human capital becomes more `bond-like.' Together, these effects create a hump-shaped optimal portfolio decision for the agent over the life cycle, consistent with empirical observation.

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  • Luca Benzoni & Pierre Collin-Dufresne & Robert S. Goldstein, 2005. "Portfolio Choice over the Life-Cycle in the Presence of 'Trickle Down' Labor Income," NBER Working Papers 11247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11247 Note: AP
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    Cited by:

    1. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 1999. "The risk-sharing implications of alternative social security arrangements," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 213-259, June.
    2. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Adrien Verdelhan, 2013. "The Wealth-Consumption Ratio," Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 38-94.
    3. Campbell, John Y. & Nosbusch, Yves, 2007. "Intergenerational risksharing and equilibrium asset prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2251-2268, November.
    4. Robert Shiller, 2005. "The Life-Cycle Personal Accounts Proposal for Social Security: An Evaluation," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2535, Yale School of Management.
    5. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2008. "The Returns on Human Capital: Good News on Wall Street is Bad News on Main Street," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(5), pages 2097-2137, September.
    6. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Asset Pricing with Idiosyncratic Risk and Overlapping Generations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 519-548, October.
    7. Cagetti, Marco & De Nardi, Mariacristina, 2008. "Wealth Inequality: Data And Models," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(S2), pages 285-313, September.
    8. Hanno Lustig, "undated". "The Wealth-Consumption Ratio: A Litmus Test for Consumption-based Asset Pricing Models," UCLA Economics Online Papers 420, UCLA Department of Economics.
    9. Florian Zainhofer, 2007. "Life Cycle Portfolio Choice: A Swiss Perspective," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 143(II), pages 187-238, June.
    10. John Y. Campbell, 2006. "Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(4), pages 1553-1604, August.
    11. Charles Leung & Sam Tang & Nicolaas Groenewold, 2006. "Growth Volatility and Technical Progress: A Simple Rent-seeking Model," Journal of Economics, Springer, pages 159-178.
    12. Robert J. Shiller, 2005. "The Life-Cycle Personal Accounts Proposal for Social Security: A Review," NBER Working Papers 11300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Alan Gustman & Thomas Steinmeier, 2006. "Financial Risk, Retirement, Saving and Investment," Working Papers wp130, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    14. Schmähl, Winfried, 2007. "Soziale Sicherung im Lebenslauf: finanzielle Aspekte in längerfristiger Perspektive am Beispiel der Alterssicherung in Deutschland," Working papers of the ZeS 09/2007, University of Bremen, Centre for Social Policy Research (ZeS).
    15. Nicolas Aubert & Thomas Rapp, 2010. "Employee's investment behaviors in a company based savings plan," Finance, Presses universitaires de Grenoble, pages 5-32.
    16. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2008. "Asset Pricing with Limited Risk Sharing and Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 415-448, January.
    17. Charles Leung, 2007. "Equilibrium Correlations of Asset Price and Return," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 233-256, February.
    18. Claudio Campanale, 2008. "Life-Cycle Portfolio Choice: The Role of Heterogeneity and Under-diversification," Working Papers. Serie AD 2008-06, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
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    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles

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