Harvard Business School
Baker LIbrary 261
Boston, MA 02163
Institutional Affiliation: Harvard University
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|September 2019||Financial Market Risk Perceptions and the Macroeconomy|
with Carolin Pflueger, Adi Sunderam: w26290
We propose a novel measure of risk perceptions: the price of volatile stocks (PVSt), defined as the book-to-market ratio of low-volatility stocks minus the book-to-market ratio of high-volatility stocks. PVSt is high when perceived risk directly measured from surveys and option prices is low. When perceived risk is high according to our measure, safe asset prices are high, risky asset prices are low, the cost of capital for risky firms is high, and real investment is forecast to decline. Perceived risk as measured by PVSt falls after positive macroeconomic news. These declines are predictably followed by upward revisions in investor risk perceptions. Our results suggest that risk perceptions embedded in stock prices are an important driver of the business c...
|April 2018||A Measure of Risk Appetite for the Macroeconomy|
with Carolin Pflueger, Adi Sunderam: w24529
We document a strong and robust positive relationship between real rates and the contemporaneous valuation of volatile stocks, which we contend measures the economy’s risk appetite. Our novel proxy for risk appetite explains 41% of the variation in the one-year real rate since 1970, while the valuation of the aggregate stock market explains just 1%. In addition, the real rate forecasts returns on volatile stocks, confirming our interpretation that changes in risk appetite drive the real rate. Increases in our measure of risk appetite are followed by a boom in investment and output.