DP4922 | Euler Equation Errors

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Among the most important pieces of empirical evidence against the standard representative-agent, consumption-based asset pricing paradigm are the formidable unconditional Euler equation errors the model produces for a broad stock market index return and short-term interest rate. Unconditional Euler equation errors are also large for a broader cross-section of returns. Here we ask whether calibrated leading asset pricing models ? specifically developed to address empirical puzzles associated with the standard paradigm ? explain these empirical facts. We find that, in many cases, they do not. We present several results. First, we show that if the true pricing kernel that sets the unconditional Euler equation errors to zero is jointly lognormally distributed with aggregate consumption and returns, then values for the subjective discount factor and relative risk aversion can always be found for which the standard model generates identical unconditional asset pricing implications for two asset returns, a risky and risk-free asset. Second, we show, using simulated data from several leading asset pricing frameworks, that many economic models share this property even though in those models the pricing kernel, returns, and consumption are not jointly lognormally distributed. Third, in contrast to the above results, we provide an example of a limited participation/incomplete markets model that is broadly consistent with these empirical facts.