IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/red/sed004/644.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Declining Equity Premium: What Role Does Macroeconomic Risk Play?

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Lettau
  • Sydney C. Ludvigson

Abstract

Aggregate stock prices, relative to virtually any indicator of fundamental value, soared to unprecedented levels in the 1990s. Even today, after the market declines since 2000, they remain well above historical norms. Why? We consider one particular explanation: a fall in macroeconomic risk, or the volatility of the aggregate economy. We estimate a two-state regime switching model for the volatility and mean of consumption growth, and find evidence of a shift to substantially lower consumption volatility at the beginning of the 1990s. We then show that there is a strong and statistically robust correlation between low macroeconomic volatility and high asset prices: the estimated posterior probability of being in a low volatility state explains 30 to 60 percent of the post-war variation in the log price-dividend ratio, depending on the measure of consumption analyzed. Next, we study a rational asset pricing model with regime switches in both the mean and standard deviation of consumption growth, where the probabilities of a regime change are calibrated to match estimates from post-war data. Plausible parameterizations of the model are found to account for a significant fraction of the run-up in asset valuation ratios observed in the late 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Lettau & Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2004. "The Declining Equity Premium: What Role Does Macroeconomic Risk Play?," 2004 Meeting Papers 644, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:644
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.nyu.edu/user/ludvigsons/rgs.pdf
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. Otrok, Christopher & Ravikumar, B. & Whiteman, Charles H., 2002. "Habit formation: a resolution of the equity premium puzzle?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1261-1288, September.
    3. John Y. Campbell, 1986. "Bond and Stock Returns in a Simple Exchange Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 785-803.
    4. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2001. "Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics Or Lower Propensity To Pay?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 14(1), pages 67-79, March.
    5. Martin Lettau & Sydney C. Ludvigson & Jessica A. Wachter, 2008. "The Declining Equity Premium: What Role Does Macroeconomic Risk Play?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 1653-1687, July.
    6. Bonomo, Marco & Garcia, Rene, 1994. "Can a Well-Fitted Equilibrium Asset-Pricing Model Produce Mean Reversion?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(1), pages 19-29, Jan.-Marc.
    7. Balke, Nathan S & Gordon, Robert J, 1989. "The Estimation of Prewar Gross National Product: Methodology and New Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 38-92, February.
    8. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1993. "Movements in the Equity Premium," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 75-138.
    9. Larry G. Epstein & Stanley E. Zin, 2013. "Substitution, risk aversion and the temporal behavior of consumption and asset returns: A theoretical framework," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Leonard C MacLean & William T Ziemba (ed.), HANDBOOK OF THE FUNDAMENTALS OF FINANCIAL DECISION MAKING Part I, chapter 12, pages 207-239, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "The equity premium puzzle and the risk-free rate puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 401-421, November.
    11. Marco Cagetti & Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas Sargent & Noah Williams, 2002. "Robustness and Pricing with Uncertain Growth," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(2), pages 363-404, March.
    12. Pastor, Lubos & Veronesi, Pietro, 2006. "Was there a Nasdaq bubble in the late 1990s?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 61-100, July.
    13. Martin Lettau & Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2004. "Understanding Trend and Cycle in Asset Values: Reevaluating the Wealth Effect on Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 276-299, March.
    14. Giovannini, Alberto, 1989. "Uncertainty and liquidity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 239-258, March.
    15. Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney C., 2005. "Expected returns and expected dividend growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 583-626, June.
    16. Campbell, John Y, 1991. "A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 157-179, March.
    17. 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.
    18. Cecchetti, Stephen G & Lam, Pok-sang & Mark, Nelson C, 1990. "Mean Reversion in Equilibrium Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 398-418, June.
    19. Campbell, John Y., 1999. "Asset prices, consumption, and the business cycle," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1231-1303, Elsevier.
    20. Bansal, Ravi & Khatchatrian, Varoujan & Yaron, Amir, 2005. "Interpretable asset markets?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 531-560, April.
    21. Calvet, Laurent & Gonzalez-Eiras, Martín & Sodini, Paolo, 2004. "Financial Innovation, Market Participation, and Asset Prices," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(3), pages 431-459, September.
    22. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1481-1509, August.
    23. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 1993. "Consumption Growth, the Interest Rate and Aggregation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 631-649.
    24. John Heaton & Deborah J. Lucas, 2000. "Stock prices and fundamentals," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Apr.
    25. Robert E. Hall, 2000. "E-Capital: The Link between the Stock Market and the Labor Market in the 1990s," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(2), pages 73-118.
    26. Barsky, Robert B, 1989. "Why Don't the Prices of Stocks and Bonds Move Together?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1132-1145, December.
    27. Sydney Ludvigson, 1999. "Consumption And Credit: A Model Of Time-Varying Liquidity Constraints," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 434-447, August.
    28. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
    29. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    30. Whitelaw, Robert F, 2000. "Stock Market Risk and Return: An Equilibrium Approach," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(3), pages 521-547.
    31. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Computation and analysis of multiple structural change models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 1-22.
    32. Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "Limited Asset Market Participation and the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 825-853, August.
    33. G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), 2003. "Handbook of the Economics of Finance," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
    34. Abel, Andrew B., 1999. "Risk premia and term premia in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 3-33, February.
    35. G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), 2003. "Handbook of the Economics of Finance," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 2.
    36. Veronesi, Pietro, 1999. "Stock Market Overreaction to Bad News in Good Times: A Rational Expectations Equilibrium Model," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(5), pages 975-1007.
    37. Bansal, Ravi & Lundblad, Christian, 2002. "Market efficiency, asset returns, and the size of the risk premium in global equity markets," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 195-237, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Calvet, Laurent E. & Fisher, Adlai J., 2007. "Multifrequency news and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 178-212, October.
    2. Broer, Tobias & Kero, Afroditi, 2011. "Great Moderation or Great Mistake: Can rising confidence in low macro-risk explain the boom in asset prices?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8700, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Beeler, Jason & Campbell, John Y., 2012. "The Long-Run Risks Model and Aggregate Asset Prices: An Empirical Assessment," Critical Finance Review, now publishers, vol. 1(1), pages 141-182, January.
    4. Campbell, John Y., 2003. "Consumption-based asset pricing," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 803-887, Elsevier.
    5. Ludvigson, Sydney C., 2013. "Advances in Consumption-Based Asset Pricing: Empirical Tests," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 799-906, Elsevier.
    6. Brevik, Frode & d’Addona, Stefano, 2010. "Information Quality and Stock Returns Revisited," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(6), pages 1419-1446, December.
    7. Bekaert, Geert & Engstrom, Eric & Xing, Yuhang, 2009. "Risk, uncertainty, and asset prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 59-82, January.
    8. Anisha Ghosh & George M. Constantinides, 2014. "Prices, Consumption, and Dividends Over the Business Cycle: A Tale of Two Regimes," NBER Working Papers 20678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Nengjiu Ju & Jianjun Miao, 2012. "Ambiguity, Learning, and Asset Returns," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 559-591, March.
    10. Stijn Claessens & M Ayhan Kose, 2018. "Frontiers of macrofinancial linkages," BIS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 95.
    11. Stefano d’Addona & Christos Giannikos, 2014. "Asset pricing and the role of macroeconomic volatility," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 197-215, May.
    12. Ravi Bansal, 2007. "Long-run risks and financial markets," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 89(Jul), pages 283-300.
    13. Geoffrey J. Warren, 2008. "Implications for Asset Pricing Puzzles of a Roll‐over Assumption for the Risk‐Free Asset," International Review of Finance, International Review of Finance Ltd., vol. 8(3‐4), pages 125-157, September.
    14. Calvet, Laurent E. & Fisher, Adlai J., 2008. "Multifrequency jump-diffusions: An equilibrium approach," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 207-226, January.
    15. 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.
    16. Geert Bekaert & Eric Engstrom, 2009. "Asset Return Dynamics under Bad Environment Good Environment Fundamentals," NBER Working Papers 15222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. George M. Constantinides & Anisha Ghosh, 2011. "Asset Pricing Tests with Long-run Risks in Consumption Growth," Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 96-136.
    18. Yiqun Mou & Lars A. Lochstoer & Michael Johannes, 2011. "Learning about Consumption Dynamics," 2011 Meeting Papers 306, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    19. McMillan, David G., 2013. "Consumption and stock prices: Evidence from a small international panel," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 76-88.
    20. Stijn Claessens & M Ayhan Kose, 2017. "Asset prices and macroeconomic outcomes: a survey," BIS Working Papers 676, Bank for International Settlements.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Equity Premium; Macro Volatility;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed004:644. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/sedddea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Christian Zimmermann (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/sedddea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.