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Optimal life cycle asset allocation : understanding the empirical evidence

Michaelides, Alexander and Gomes, Francisco J. (2005) Optimal life cycle asset allocation : understanding the empirical evidence. Journal of Finance, 60 (2). pp. 869-904. ISSN 1540-6261

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2005.00749.x


We show that a life-cycle model with realistically calibrated uninsurable labor income risk and moderate risk aversion can simultaneously match stock market participation rates and asset allocation decisions conditional on participation. The key ingredients of the model are Epstein–Zin preferences, a fixed stock market entry cost, and moderate heterogeneity in risk aversion. Households with low risk aversion smooth earnings shocks with a small buffer stock of assets, and consequently most of them (optimally) never invest in equities. Therefore, the marginal stockholders are (endogenously) more risk averse, and as a result they do not invest their portfolios fully in stocks.

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Additional Information: This is an electronic version of an Article published in the Journal of Finance 60 (2) pp. 869-904 © 2005 Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The American Finance Association. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright © and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL ( of the LSE Research Online website.
Divisions: Financial Markets Group
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 13:10

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