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Luxury Goods and the Equity Premium

Authors

  • YACINE AÏT-SAHALIA,

  • JONATHAN A. PARKER,

  • MOTOHIRO YOGO

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    • Aït-Sahalia is with the Department of Economics and the Bendheim Center for Finance, Princeton University, and the NBER. Parker is with the Department of Economics and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Bendheim Center for Finance, Princeton University, and the NBER. Yogo is with the Department of Economics, Harvard University. We thank the editor and an anonymous referee, Christopher Carroll, Angus Deaton, Karen Dynan, Gregory Mankiw, Masao Ogaki, Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, and participants at the NBER ME Meeting (November 2001) and the Wharton Conference on Household Portfolio-Choice and Financial Decision-Making (March 2002) for helpful comments and discussions. We thank Jonathan Miller at Miller Samuel Inc. for data on Manhattan real estate prices and Orley Ashenfelter and David Ashmore at Liquid Assets for data on wine prices. Aït-Sahalia and Parker thank the National Science Foundation (grants SBR-9996023 and SES-0096076, respectively) for financial support.


ABSTRACT

This paper evaluates the equity premium using novel data on the consumption of luxury goods. Specifying utility as a nonhomothetic function of both luxury and basic consumption goods, we derive pricing equations and evaluate the risk of holding equity. Household survey and national accounts data mostly reflect basic consumption, and therefore overstate the risk aversion necessary to match the observed equity premium. The risk aversion implied by the consumption of luxury goods is more than an order of magnitude less than that implied by national accounts data. For the very rich, the equity premium is much less of a puzzle.

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