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Human capital, business cycles and asset pricing

Min Wei, 2004
Faculty Advisor: Geert Bekaert
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I investigate the asset pricing and business cycle implications of a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with human capital and education. Key features of the model are (1) a higher consumption risk resulting from the representative agent's desire to smooth leisure and from the short-run inelasticities in physical and human capital investment, and (2) a countercyclical risk aversion induced by shocks to human capital. The model provides a good fit to a number of asset-pricing facts including a low riskfree rate, an upward-sloping yield curve, a higher equity premium, countercyclical dividend yields, and long-horizon predictability of excess stock returns. On the macroeconomic side, the model matches conventional business-cycle statistics as well as a standard model does, while generating a high volatility in hours worked and a negative correlation between the output and the time spent in education, both of which are consistent with the data.

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