Intertemporal Investment Strategies under Inflation Risk
This paper studies intertemporal investment strategies under inflation risk by extending the intertemporal framework of Merton (1973) to include a stochastic price index. The stochastic price index gives rise to a two-tier evaluation system: agents maximize their utility of consumption in real terms while investment activities and wealth evolution are evaluated in nominal terms. We include inflation-indexed bonds in the agents’ investment opportunity set and study their effectiveness in hedging against inflation risk. A new multifactor term structure model is developed to price both inflation-indexed bonds and nominal bonds, and the optimal rules for intertemporal portfolio allocation, both with and without inflation-indexed bonds are obtained in closed form. The theoretical model is estimated using data of US bond yield, both real and nominal, and S&P 500 index. The estimation results are employed to construct the optimal investment strategy for an actual real market situation. Wachter (2003) pointed out that without inflation risk, the most risk averse agents (with an infinite risk aversion parameter) will invest all their wealth in the long term nominal bond maturing at the end of the investment horizon. We extend this result to the case with inflation risk and conclude that the most risk averse agents will now invest all their wealth in the inflation-indexed bond maturing at the end of the investment horizon.
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