The Choice Channel of Financial Innovation
77 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 20, 2020
Financial innovation in recent decades has expanded portfolio choice. We investigate how greater choice affects investors' savings and asset returns. We establish a choice channel by which greater portfolio choice increases investors' savings --- by enabling them to earn the aggregate risk premium or to take speculative positions. In equilibrium, portfolio customization (access to risky assets beyond the market portfolio) reduces the risk-free rate. Participation (access to the market portfolio) reduces the risk premium but typically increases the risk-free rate. Empirically, stock market participants in the U.S. save more than nonparticipants, and have increasingly dispersed portfolio returns, consistent with the choice channel.
Keywords: Belief Disagreements, Speculation, Financial Innovation, Savings, Interest Rate, Risk Premium, Customization, Stock Market Participation
JEL Classification: E21, E43, E44, G11, G12
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