- We formulate a representative consumer model of intertemporal resource reallocation in which fluctuations in equity prices contribute to the smoothing of consumption flows. Features of the model include (a) an incompletely observable stochastic process of productivity shocks leading to fluctuating confidence of beliefs and (b) technologies involving commitments of a resource good. These features are exploited to show that (1) equities are not a representative form of total wealth and (2) the valuation of currently active firms is not representative of the valuation of all firms. We examine the implications of (1) and (2) to argue that empirical findings for the volatility and 'value shortfall' of equity prices may be consistent with a frictionless representative consumer model having a low degree of risk-aversion. Simulation of a calibrated version of the model for a risk-neutral consumer shows that when the 'data' is analyzed according to current econometric procedures, it is found to exhibit volatility of the same order of magnitude as that found in the actual data, although the model contains no excess volatility.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department.
Downloadable ContentDownload PDF
Download a zip file that contains all the files in this work.