Dissecting the Equity Premium
25 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2019 Last revised: 2 May 2021
Date Written: May 1, 2021
We use option prices and realized returns to decompose risk premia into different parts of the return state space. In the data, 8/10 of the average equity premium is attributable to monthly returns below -10%, but returns below -30% matter very little. In contrast, leading asset pricing models based on habits, long-run risks, rare disasters, undiversifiable idiosyncratic risk, and constrained intermediaries attribute the premium predominantly to returns above -10% or to the extreme left tail. We show that the discrepancy arises from an unrealistically small price of risk for stock market tail events.
Keywords: tail risk, equity premium decomposition, equity index options, Arrow-Debreu securities, rare disasters, long-run risks, external habits, incomplete markets, intermediary asset pricing
JEL Classification: G12, G13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation