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Euler Equation Errors

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  • Martin Lettau
  • Sydney C. Ludvigson

Abstract

The standard, representative agent, consumption-based asset pricing theory based on CRRA utility fails to explain the average returns of risky assets. When evaluated on cross- sections of stock returns, the model generates economically large unconditional Euler equation errors. Unlike the equity premium puzzle, these large Euler equation errors cannot be resolved with high values of risk aversion. To explain why the standard model fails, we need to develop alternative models that can rationalize its large pricing errors. We evaluate whether four newer theories at the vanguard of consumption-based asset pricing can explain the large Euler equation errors of the standard consumption-based model. In each case, we find that the alternative theory counterfactually implies that the standard model has negligible Euler equation errors. We show that the models miss on this dimension because they mischaracterize the joint behavior of consumption and asset returns in recessions, when aggregate consumption is falling. By contrast, a simple model in which aggregate consumption growth and stockholder consumption growth are highly correlated most of the time, but have low or negative correlation in severe recessions, produces violations of the standard model's Euler equations and departures from joint lognormality that are remarkably similar to those found in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Lettau & Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2005. "Euler Equation Errors," NBER Working Papers 11606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11606 Note: AP
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    Cited by:

    1. Gomes, Fábio Augusto Reis & Ribeiro, Priscila Fernandes, 2015. "Estimating the elasticity of intertemporal substitution taking into account the precautionary savings motive," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, pages 108-123.
    2. Drew Creal & Siem Jan Koopman & André Lucas & Marcin Zamojski, 2015. "Generalized Autoregressive Method of Moments," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-138/III, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. repec:eee:reveco:v:51:y:2017:i:c:p:157-173 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. George M. Constantinides & Anisha Ghosh, 2011. "Asset Pricing Tests with Long-run Risks in Consumption Growth," Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Oxford University Press, pages 96-136.
    5. Martin Lettau & Sydney Ludvigson, 2009. "Euler Equation Errors," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(2), pages 255-283, April.
    6. Ravi Bansal & A. Ronald Gallant & George Tauchen, 2007. "Rational Pessimism, Rational Exuberance, and Asset Pricing Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(4), pages 1005-1033.
    7. Bjørn Eraker, 2008. "Affine General Equilibrium Models," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 2068-2080.
    8. Bansal, Ravi & Kiku, Dana & Yaron, Amir, 2016. "Risks for the long run: Estimation with time aggregation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 52-69.
    9. Raghu Suryanarayanan, 2006. "Implications of Anticipated Regret and Endogenous Beliefs for Equilibrium Asset Prices: A Theoretical Framework," CSEF Working Papers 162, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    10. Sydney Ludvigson, 2008. "The Research Agenda: Sydney Ludvigson on Empirical Evaluation of Economic Theories of Risk Premia," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), April.
    11. Howitt, Peter, 2012. "What have central bankers learned from modern macroeconomic theory?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, pages 11-22.
    12. Ludvigson, Sydney C., 2013. "Advances in Consumption-Based Asset Pricing: Empirical Tests," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, Elsevier.
    13. Saziye Gaziog-super-˜lu & Azize Bastıyalı-Hayfavi, 2010. "Stochastic optimization applied to self-financing portfolio: does bequest matter?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(30), pages 3831-3838.

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    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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