Abstract: This paper studies the importance of idiosyncratic endowment shocks for aggregate asset prices in continuous time. My generalized framework accommodates jumps and heterogeneous recursive preferences. I show that countercyclical cross-sectional risk is irrelevant to risk premia if and only if all agents have identical, time-additive power utility and cross-sectional risk is uncorrelated with aggregate consumption risk. It always affects the riskfree rate and equity volatility. I calibrate a general-equilibrium model in which numerous agents face uninsurable idiosyncratic human-capital disasters. Using Social Security Administration income data, I show that time-varying cross-sectional income skewness is an important driver of asset price dynamics.
Abstract: Sovereign debt yields have declined dramatically over the last half-century. Standard explanations, including aging populations and increases in asset demand from abroad, encounter difficulties when confronted with the full range of evidence. We propose an explanation based on a decline in inflation and default risk, which we argue is more consistent with the long-run nature of the interest rate decline. We show that a model with investment, inventory storage, and sovereign default captures the decline in interest rates, the stability of equity valuation ratios, and the recent reduction in investment and output growth coinciding with the binding zero lower bound.