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Can Time-Varying Risk of Rare Disasters Explain Aggregate Stock Market Volatility?

  • Jessica Wachter

Why is the equity premium so high, and why are stocks so volatile? Why are stock returns in excess of government bill rates predictable? This paper proposes an answer to these questions based on a time-varying probability of a consumption disaster. In the model, aggregate consumption follows a normal distribution with low volatility most of the time, but with some probability of a consumption realization far out in the left tail. The possibility of this poor outcome substantially increases the equity premium, while time-variation in the probability of this outcome drives high stock market volatility and excess return predictability.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14386.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14386.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Publication status: published as Jessica A. Wachter, 2013. "Can Time-Varying Risk of Rare Disasters Explain Aggregate Stock Market Volatility?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(3), pages 987-1035, 06.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14386
Note: AP EFG
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  1. Martin Lettau & Jessica Wachter, 2005. "Why is Long-Horizon Equity Less Risky? A Duration-Based Explanation of the Value Premium," NBER Working Papers 11144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. repec:dgr:uvatin:20060046 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Veronesi, Pietro, 2004. "The Peso problem hypothesis and stock market returns," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 707-725, January.
  4. Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney, 1999. "Consumption, Aggregate Wealth and Expected Stock Returns," CEPR Discussion Papers 2223, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Gourio, Fran├žois, 2008. "Time-series predictability in the disaster model," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 191-203, December.
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  8. Duffie, Darrell & Epstein, Larry G, 1992. "Asset Pricing with Stochastic Differential Utility," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 411-36.
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  11. Darrell Duffie & Jun Pan & Kenneth Singleton, 1999. "Transform Analysis and Asset Pricing for Affine Jump-Diffusions," NBER Working Papers 7105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
  14. Itamar Drechsler & Amir Yaron, 2008. "What's Vol Got to Do With It," 2008 Meeting Papers 282, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "A Theory of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 385-407, March.
  16. Naik, Vasanttilak & Lee, Moon, 1990. "General Equilibrium Pricing of Options on the Market Portfolio with Discontinuous Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(4), pages 493-521.
  17. Robert J. Barro, 2007. "Rare Disasters, Asset Prices, and Welfare Costs," NBER Working Papers 13690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Andrew B. Abel, 1998. "Risk Premia and Term Premia in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 6683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Hodrick, Robert J, 1992. "Dividend Yields and Expected Stock Returns: Alternative Procedures for Inference and Measurement," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 357-86.
  20. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1989. "Business conditions and expected returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 23-49, November.
  21. Keim, Donald B. & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1986. "Predicting returns in the stock and bond markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 357-390, December.
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