A New Participation Puzzle: Public Equity Ownership through the Financial Crisis
41 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2019 Last revised: 8 Jul 2020
Date Written: August 26, 2019
I document two new facts in household portfolio choice. First, intertemporal changes in the distribution of wealth resulted in a decrease in public equity ownership after, but not during, the financial crisis. Second, holding fixed the level of wealth over time, the participation rate temporarily increased during the crisis, then returned to pre-crisis levels. These results can be explained by, and serve as strong evidence for, decreasing relative risk aversion and portfolio inertia. I discuss implications of these findings for existing models of participation, including participation costs and background risks.
Keywords: Stock market participation, Household finance, Portfolio choice, Financial crisis
JEL Classification: G01, G11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation