The Equity Premium is No Puzzle

Stanford University Dept. of Economics WP# 96-004

55 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 1996  

Mordecai Kurz

Stanford University - Department of Economics

Andrea Beltratti

Bocconi University - Department of Finance

Date Written: February 1996

Abstract

We examine the equity premium puzzle with the perspective of the theory of Rational Beliefs Equilibrium (RBE) and show that from the perspective of this theory there is no puzzle. In an RBE agents need to be compensated for the endogenously propagated price uncertainty which is not permitted under rational expectations. It is then argued that endogenous uncertainty is the predominant uncertainty of asset returns and its presence provides a natural explanation of the observed premium. Utilizing data on the asset allocation of 63 U.S. mutual funds, we test some empirical implications of the theory of rational beliefs as well as estimate the parameters of risk aversion of mutual fund managers. Our tests show that the predictions of the theory are consistent with the empirical evidence. We then construct a simple two agent model of the U.S. economy in which the agents hold rational beliefs and calibrate it to the empirical experience in accord with the parameters of the Mehra and Prescott (1985) paper. The results of our calculations show that for a large set of parameter values the model predictions fit closely the historical record.

JEL Classification: D58, D84, G12

Suggested Citation

Kurz, Mordecai and Beltratti , Andrea, The Equity Premium is No Puzzle (February 1996). Stanford University Dept. of Economics WP# 96-004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1092 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1092

Mordecai Kurz (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States

Andrea Beltratti

Bocconi University - Department of Finance ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milano, MI 20136
Italy

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