NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Intertemporal Consumption Choices, Transaction Costs and Limited Participation to Financial Markets: Reconciling Data and Theory

Orazio P. Attanasio, Monica Paiella

NBER Working Paper No. 12412
Issued in August 2006
NBER Program(s):   EFG

This paper builds a unifying framework that, within the theory of intertemporal consumption choices, brings together the limited participation -based explanation of the poor empirical performance of the C-CAPM and the transaction costs-based explanation of incomplete portfolios. Using the implications of the consumption model and observed household consumption and portfolio choices, we identify the preference parameters of interest and a lower bound for the costs rationalizing non-participation in financial markets, in the presence of unobserved heterogeneity in tastes for consumption and portfolio allocation. Using the US Consumer Expenditure Survey and assuming isoelastic preferences, we estimate the coefficient of relative risk aversion at 1.7 and a cost bound of 0.4 percent of non-durable consumption. Our estimate of the preference parameter is theoretically plausible and the bound sufficiently small to be likely to be exceeded by the actual total (observable and unobservable) costs of participating to financial markets.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12412

Published: Orazio P. Attanasio & Monica Paiella, 2011. "Intertemporal consumption choices, transaction costs and limited participation in financial markets: reconciling data and theory," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(2), pages 322-343, March.

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