Measuring Time-Varying Economic Fears with Consumption-Based Stochastic Discount Factors
This paper analyzes empirically the volatility of consumption-based stochastic discount factors as a measure of implicit economic fears by studying its relationship with future economic and stock market cycles. Time-varying economic fears seem to be well captured by the volatility of stochastic discount factors. In particular, the volatility of recursive utility-based stochastic discount factor with contemporaneous growth explains between 9 and 34 percent of future changes in industrial production at short and long horizons respectively. They also explain ex-ante uncertainty and risk aversion. However, future stock market cycles are better explained by a similar stochastic discount factor with long-run consumption growth. This specification of the stochastic discount factor presents higher volatility and lower pricing errors than the specification with contemporaneous consumption growth.
Stochastic discount factor, economic fears, distance between probability measures, volatility of stochastic discount factor, consumption
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