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Asset Prices in a Lifecycle Economy

  • Roger Farmer

The representative agent model (RA) has dominated macroeconomics for the last thirty years. This model does a reasonably good job of explaining the co-movements of consumption, investment, GDP and employment during normal times. But it cannot easily explain movements in asset prices. Two facts are hard to understand 1) The return to equity is highly volatile and 2) The premium for holding equity, over a safe government bond, is large. The equity premium has two parts; a risk premium and a term premium. This paper constructs a lifecycle model in which agents of different generations have different savings rates and I use this model to account for a high term premium and a volatile stochastic discount factor. The fact the term premium is large, accounts for a substantial part of the observed equity premium.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19958.

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Date of creation: Mar 2014
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19958
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  1. Cochrane, John H. & Campbell, John, 1999. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Scholarly Articles 3119444, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Christian Julliard & Anisha Ghosh, 2012. "Can Rare Events Explain the Equity Premium Puzzle?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(10), pages 3037-3076.
  3. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Fiscal Requirements for Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 8072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jessica Wachter, 2008. "Can Time-Varying Risk of Rare Disasters Explain Aggregate Stock Market Volatility?," NBER Working Papers 14386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  6. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
  7. Azariadis, Costas, 1981. "Self-fulfilling prophecies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 380-396, December.
  8. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2000. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Roger Farmer & Carine Nourry & Alain Venditti, 2014. "The Inefficient Markets Hypothesis: Why Financial Markets Do Not Work Well in the Real World," 2014 Meeting Papers 516, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Balasko, Yves & Cass, David, 1989. "The Structure of Financial Equilibrium with Exogenous Yields: The Case of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(1), pages 135-62, January.
  11. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Xavier Gabaix, 2007. "Linearity-Generating Processes: A Modelling Tool Yielding Closed Forms for Asset Prices," NBER Working Papers 13430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-40, April.
  14. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
  16. Felix KUBLER & Karl SCHMEDDERS, 2010. "Life-Cycle Portfolio Choice, the Wealth Distribution and Asset Prices," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 10-21, Swiss Finance Institute.
  17. Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
  18. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-43, June.
  19. Rietz, Thomas A., 1988. "The equity risk premium a solution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 117-131, July.
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