Snakes and Ladders: Asset Pricing with Household Disasters

75 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2016

Date Written: November 16, 2016


Disaster models are typically agnostic as to what spawns tail events, but are often calibrated on labor shocks. Using a novel way to construct rare event factors using the CEX survey data, I study whether the type of idiosyncratic shock modeled matters empirically. I estimate an augmented consumption-based asset pricing model, and find that while labor shocks do come through, they surprisingly do not significantly improve the fit of the model when used on their own, compared to a standard model with no shock factors. I show that including labor shocks with other types of events, notably housing, health and demographic shocks, serves to enhance the goodness-of-fit, reduces the pricing error, and generates plausible parameters for the utility function. The results suggest that labor is indeed a channel of idiosyncratic tail risk for asset pricing models, but the variations of the risk premium are most effectively captured when demographic, housing and health shocks are also included.

Keywords: consumption CAPM, heterogenous agents, consumption disasters

JEL Classification: E13, E21, E22, E32

Suggested Citation

Cocquemas, François, Snakes and Ladders: Asset Pricing with Household Disasters (November 16, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

François Cocquemas (Contact Author)

Florida State University ( email )

Tallahassee, FL 32306-1042
United States

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