The Wealth-Consumption Ratio

52 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2008 Last revised: 28 Jan 2010

See all articles by Hanno N. Lustig

Hanno N. Lustig

Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

Columbia University Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Adrien Verdelhan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2008

Abstract

We set up an exponentially affine stochastic discount factor model for bond yields and stock returns in order to estimate the prices of aggregate risk. We use the estimated risk prices to compute the no-arbitrage price of a claim to aggregate consumption. The price-dividend ratio of this claim is the wealth-consumption ratio. Our estimates indicate that total wealth is much safer than stock market wealth. The consumption risk premium is only 2.2 percent, substantially below the equity risk premium of 6.9 percent. As a result, the average US household has more wealth than one might think; most of it is human wealth. A large fraction of the variation in total wealth can be traced back to changes in long-term real interest rates. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find that events in bond markets, not stock markets, matter most for understanding fluctuations in total wealth.

Suggested Citation

Lustig, Hanno N. and Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn and Verdelhan, Adrien, The Wealth-Consumption Ratio (March 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w13896, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1112008

Hanno N. Lustig (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

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Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Adrien Verdelhan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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