Working Paper 655

Intermediated Quantities and Returns

Edward C. Prescott | Senior Monetary Advisor
Rajnish Mehra
Facundo Piguillem

Published September 1, 2007

There is a large amount of intermediated borrowing and lending between households. Some of it is intergenerational, but most is between older households. The average difference in borrowing and lending rates is over 2 percent. In this paper, we develop a model economy that displays these facts and matches not only the returns on assets but also their quantities. The heterogeneity giving rise to borrowing and lending and differences in equity holdings depends on differences in the strength of the bequest motive. In equilibrium, the lenders are annuity holders and the borrowers are those who have equity holdings, who live off its income when retired, and who leave a bequest. The borrowing rate and return on equity are the same in the absence of aggregate uncertainty. The divergence between borrowing and lending rates can thus give rise to an equity premium, even in a world without aggregate uncertainty.

This paper was replaced by Staff Report 405 and subsequently published as Working Paper 685 under the title "Costly Financial Intermediation in Neoclassical Growth Theory."

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