Wage Growth and Equity Risk Premia
52 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2018 Last revised: 16 Mar 2019
Date Written: March 14, 2019
We develop a simple three-factor consumption-based asset pricing model that includes wage growth as a risk factor, and evaluate whether the model explains six major CAPM anomalies: book-to-market, investment, operating profitability, long-term return reversal, net share issues, and residual variance. Wage growth arises in the pricing kernel by using a non-separable utility over consumption and leisure, and represents the growth in the opportunity cost of enjoying leisure hours. In the model, wage growth earns a negative price of risk, that is, higher wage growth leads to a decline in leisure demand, which increases the marginal utility of consumption for an investor with risk aversion above one. The empirical cross-sectional tests show that the model explains around 50% of the cross-sectional dispersion in average returns of the joint six CAPM anomalies (160 equity portfolios). Further, the proposed model compares favorably with alternative return-based multifactor models widely used in the literature. The risk price estimates for wage growth are significantly negative, while the implied preference parameter (share of leisure) estimates are economically plausible in most cases. Overall, our results suggest that aggregate wage growth can help explaining cross-sectional equity risk premia.
Keywords: Asset pricing, Consumption-based asset pricing model, Leisure, Wage growth, Cross-section of stock returns, Stock market anomalies
JEL Classification: E21, E44, G11, G12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation