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Measuring the Cost of Economic Fluctuations with Preferences that Rationalize the Equity Premium

  • Angelo Melino

Lucas (2003) argues that the potential welfare gains from stabilizing the business cycle are small. In fact, he shows that the benefits of eliminating all economic fluctuations are small, both in an absolute sense and when compared to the potential gains from other reforms. His estimates are obtained using standard preferences. In this paper, I show that a model consistent with observed data on asset returns leads to very different conclusions. Calibrating preferences to observed asset market data raises the estimated welfare gains from completely eliminating aggregate fluctuations by approximately two orders of magnitude. Most of the gains, however, come from the elimination of low frequency contributions.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-256.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 08 Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-256
Contact details of provider: Postal: 150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
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  1. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  2. Larry G. Epstein & Stanley E. Zin, 1991. "The Independence Axiom and Asset Returns," NBER Technical Working Papers 0109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Epstein, Larry G & Melino, Angelo, 1995. "A Revealed Preference Analysis of Asset Pricing under Recursive Utility," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 597-618, October.
  4. Angelo Melino & Alan X. Yang, 2003. "State Dependent Preferences Can Explain the Equity Premium Puzzle," Working Papers melino-03-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  5. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  6. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 7978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lars Peter Hansen & Ravi Jagannathan, 1990. "Implications of security market data for models of dynamic economies," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 29, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Philippe Weil, 1989. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Riskfree Rate Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 2829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Thomas Tallarini, . "Risk-Sensitive Real Business Cycles," GSIA Working Papers 1997-35, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  10. Hansen, Lars Peter & Richard, Scott F, 1987. "The Role of Conditioning Information in Deducing Testable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 587-613, May.
  11. Epstein, Larry G. & Zin, Stanley E., 1990. "'First-order' risk aversion and the equity premium puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 387-407, December.
  12. 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.
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