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Essays on volatility risk premia in asset pricing Boguth, Oliver


This thesis contains two essays. In the first essay, we investigate the impact of time varying volatility of consumption growth on the cross-section and time-series of equity returns. While many papers test consumption-based pricing models using the first moment of consumption growth, less is known about how the time-variation of consumption growth volatility affects asset prices. In a model with recursive preferences and unobservable conditional mean and volatility of consumption growth, the representative agent's estimates of conditional moments of consumption growth affect excess returns. Empirically, we find that estimated consumption volatility is a priced source of risk, and exposure to it predicts future returns in the cross-section. Consumption volatility is also a strong predictor of aggregate quarterly excess returns in the time-series. The estimated negative price of risk together with the evidence on equity premium predictability suggest that the elasticity of intertemporal substitution of the representative agent is greater than unity, a finding that contributes to a long standing debate in the literature. In the second essay, I present a simple model to show that if agents face binding portfolio constraints, stocks with high volatility in states of low market returns demand a premium beyond the one implied by systematic risks. Assets whose volatility positively covaries with market volatility also have high expected returns. Both effects of this idiosyncratic volatility risk premium are strongest for assets that face more binding trading restrictions. Unlike the prior empirical literature that obtains mixed results when focusing on the level of idiosyncratic volatility, I investigate the dynamic behavior of idiosyncratic volatility and find strong support for my predictions. Comovement of innovations of idiosyncratic volatility with market returns negatively predicts returns for trading restricted stocks relative to unrestricted stocks, and comovement of idiosyncratic volatility with market volatility positively predicts returns for restricted assets.

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