Macroeconomic Risk and Idiosyncratic Risk-taking

Macroeconomic Risk and Idiosyncratic Risk-taking

By
Ilya A. Strebulaev, Zhiyao Chen
The Review of Financial Studies. March
2019, Vol. 32, Issue 3, Pages 1148-1187

We develop and estimate a dynamic model of risk-shifting over the business cycle. First, equity holders with Epstein-Zin preferences increase their taking of idiosyncratic risk substantially more than the standard model in repeated games, because they perceive the arrival probability of bad states to be higher than the actual probability and prefer an early resolution of macroeconomic uncertainty. Second, sudden switches to bad states and large shocks in the bad states induce the countercyclical and “synchronized” idiosyncratic risk. Third, combined with the high market risk premium in the bad states, clustered risk-taking generates a countercyclical idiosyncratic volatility discount on equity returns.