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The Wealth-Consumption Ratio

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  • Hanno Lustig
  • Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh
  • Adrien Verdelhan

Abstract

We set up an exponentially affine stochastic discount factor model for bond yields and stock returns in order to estimate the prices of aggregate risk. We use the estimated risk prices to compute the no-arbitrage price of a claim to aggregate consumption. The price-dividend ratio of this claim is the wealth-consumption ratio. Our estimates indicate that total wealth is much safer than stock market wealth. The consumption risk premium is only 2.2 percent, substantially below the equity risk premium of 6.9 percent. As a result, the average US household has more wealth than one might think; most of it is human wealth. A large fraction of the variation in total wealth can be traced back to changes in long-term real interest rates. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find that events in bond markets, not stock markets, matter most for understanding fluctuations in total wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Adrien Verdelhan, 2008. "The Wealth-Consumption Ratio," NBER Working Papers 13896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13896
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    Cited by:

    1. Falato, Antonio, 2009. "Happiness maintenance and asset prices," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1247-1262, June.
    2. repec:eee:jfinec:v:128:y:2018:i:2:p:207-233 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jonathan Berk & Johan Walden, 2010. "Limited Capital Market Participation and Human Capital Risk," NBER Working Papers 15709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Aono, Kohei & Iwaisako, Tokuo, 2008. "The Consumption-Wealth Ratio, Real Estate Wealth, and the Japanese Stock Market," Discussion Paper Series a504, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    5. Lettau, Martin & Wachter, Jessica A., 2011. "The term structures of equity and interest rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 90-113, July.
    6. Jules van Binsbergen & Michael Brandt & Ralph Koijen, 2012. "On the Timing and Pricing of Dividends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1596-1618, June.
    7. Donangelo, Andres & Gourio, Francois & Kehrig, Matthias & Palacios, Miguel, 2017. "The Cross-Section of Labor Leverage and Equity Returns," Working Paper Series WP-2017-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    8. Yang, Wei, 2011. "Long-run risk in durable consumption," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 45-61, October.
    9. Koijen, Ralph S.J. & Lustig, Hanno & Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn, 2017. "The cross-section and time series of stock and bond returns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 50-69.
    10. van Binsbergen, Jules H. & Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Koijen, Ralph S.J. & Rubio-Ramírez, Juan, 2012. "The term structure of interest rates in a DSGE model with recursive preferences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 634-648.
    11. Bakshi, Gurdip & Chabi-Yo, Fousseni, 2011. "Variance Bounds on the Permanent and Transitory Components of Stochastic Discount Factors," Working Paper Series 2011-11, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    12. Ravi Bansal & Dana Kiku & Amir Yaron, 2009. "An Empirical Evaluation of the Long-Run Risks Model for Asset Prices," NBER Working Papers 15504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Issler, João Victor & Rodrigues, Claudia & Burjack, Rafael, 2014. "Using common features to understand the behavior of metal-commodity prices and forecast them at different horizons," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 310-335.
    14. Guillen, Osmani Teixeira Carvalho & Issler, João Victor & Franco Neto, Afonso Arinos de Mello, 2012. "On the welfare costs of business-cycle fluctuations and economic-growth variation in the 20th century," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 729, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    15. Ravi Bansal & Marcelo Ochoa, 2011. "Welfare Costs of Long-Run Temperature Shifts," NBER Working Papers 17574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Aoki, Shuhei & Kitahara, Minoru, 2008. "Measuring the Dynamic Cost of Living Index from Consumption Data," MPRA Paper 9802, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    21. Miguel Palacios, 2010. "Human Capital as an Asset Class: Implications from a General Equilibrium Model," Working Papers 2011-016, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    22. Chung, Kee H. & Smith, William T. & Wu, Tao L., 2009. "Time diversification: Definitions and some closed-form solutions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1101-1111, June.
    23. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • 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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