Change in Consumption Growth and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns
69 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2020 Last revised: 3 Aug 2020
Date Written: March 27, 2020
We conduct empirical tests of a simplified version of the ratio habit model developed in Abel
(1990), in which habit is extended beyond the preceding period. We show that change in four-year consumption growth---the measure of consumption resulting from our ratio habit preference---explains the joint equity premium--risk-free rate puzzle with a risk aversion coefficient much lower than any existing consumption measures under the standard consumption model. This outperformance of our ratio habit model over the standard model is robust across 18 non-U.S. countries. From 1928-2017, change in four-year consumption growth encompasses other consumption measures in explaining the cross-sectional variation of expected returns on various portfolios and it is the only consumption measure that passes the robust tests of the factor risk premium proposed by Kleibergen and Zhan (2020). While our measure constructed from nondurables does better at pricing the equity premium and risk-free rate, our service-based measure outperforms in explaining the cross-sectional variation of stock returns.
Keywords: ratio habit, equity premium, risk-free rate, puzzles, cross section, robust identification
JEL Classification: G12
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