Growth-Rate and Uncertainty Shocks in Consumption: Cross-Country Evidence

Emi Nakamura, Dmitriy Sergeyev, Jón Steinsson

NBER Working Paper No. 18128
Issued in June 2012
NBER Program(s):   AP   EFG   IFM   ME

We quantify the importance of long-run risks – persistent shocks to growth rates and uncertainty – in a panel of long-term aggregate consumption data for developed countries. We identify sizable and highly persistent world growth-rate shocks as well as less persistent country-specific growth rate shocks. The world growth-rate shocks capture the productivity speed-up and slow-down many countries experienced in the second half of the 20th century. We also identify large and persistent common shocks to uncertainty. Our world uncertainty process captures the large but uneven rise and fall of volatility that occurred over the course of the 20th century. We find that negative shocks to growth rates are correlated with shocks that increase uncertainty. Our estimates based on macroeconomic data alone line up well with earlier calibrations of the long-run risks model designed to match asset pricing data. We document how these dynamics, combined with Epstein-Zin-Weil preferences, help explain a number of asset pricing puzzles.

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This paper was revised on August 6, 2012


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