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Author:Amromin, Gene 

Conference Paper
Expectations of risk and return among household investors: Are their Sharpe ratios countercyclical?

Data obtained from special questions on the Michigan Survey of Consumer Attitudes are used to analyze stock market beliefs and portfolio choices of household investors. We find that expected risk and return are strongly influenced by economic prospects. When investors believe macroeconomic conditions are more expansionary, they tend to expect both higher returns and lower volatility. This implies that household Sharpe ratios are procyclical, which is inconsistent with the view that stock market returns should compensate investors for exposure to macroeconomic risks. The finding of procyclical ...
Proceedings , Issue Jan

Working Paper
From the horse's mouth: gauging conditional expected stock returns from investor surveys

We use data obtained from a series of Michigan Surveys of Consumer Attitudes to study stock market beliefs and portfolio choices of individual investors. We find that expected returns over the medium- and long-term horizon appear to be extrapolated from past realized returns. The findings also indicate that a more optimistic assessment of macroeconomic conditions coincides with higher expected returns and lower expected volatility, implying strongly procyclical Sharpe ratios. These results are given added credence by the empirical finding that reported portfolio concentrations in equities ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2005-26

Conference Paper
Transforming payment choices by doubling fees on the Illinois Tollway

On January 1, 2005, Illinois doubled the highway toll for travelers paying with cash, but kept the price unchanged for those paying electronically. This paper combines a theoretical model of payment choice with empirical analysis based on this rare natural experiment of differential pricing depending on the method of payment: cash versus electronic payment. An actual response to a price change allows the authors to estimate the sensitivity of consumer payment demand to prices.
Conference Series ; [Proceedings]

Journal Article
Transforming payment choices by doubling fees on the Illinois Tollway

Using data from the Illinois Tollway, the authors study the effectiveness of a particular application of pricing incentives, in conjunction with a mass-marketing campaign, to foster adoption of electronic toll collection. Dissecting the consumer response by income level, the authors reveal interesting heterogeneity of consumer payment choice in this environment.
Economic Perspectives , Volume 31 , Issue Q II

Helping Homeowners During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Lessons from the Great Recession

The Covid-19 public health crisis has sharply reduced the earnings of millions of U.S. households, following the severe curtailment of economic activity needed to contain the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, households continue to confront their ongoing financial obligations. The ability of households to manage these obligations has important consequences for the speed at which the U.S. economy can recover from the current crisis. Households that are wiped out financially in the coming months will not be in a position to strongly resume spending once the virus containment issues have passed. ...
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue 443 , Pages 9

Working Paper
How did the 2003 dividend tax cut affect stock prices?

We test the hypothesis that the 2003 dividend tax cut boosted U.S. stock prices and thus lowered the cost of equity. Using an event-study methodology, we attempt to identify an aggregate stock market effect by comparing the behavior of U.S. common stock prices to that of European stocks and real estate investment trusts. We also examine the relative cross-sectional response of stock prices for high-dividend and low-dividend stocks. We find that U.S. large-cap and small-cap indexes do not outperform their European counterparts, nor REIT stocks, over the event windows, suggesting the absence of ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2005-61

Detroit’s bankruptcy: the uncharted waters of Chapter 9

On July 18, 2013, Detroit became the largest municipality to seek protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This article describes several ways in which Detroit?s bankruptcy filing has the potential to alter some of the key assumptions of municipal bond (muni) finance, and examines the market reaction to date.
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue Nov

Journal Article
Comparing patterns of default among prime and subprime mortgages

This article compares default patterns among prime and subprime mortgages, analyzes the factors correlated with default, and examines how forecasts of defaults are affected by alternative assumptions about trends in home prices. The authors find that extremely pessimistic forecasts of home price appreciation could have generated predictions of subprime defaults that were closer to the actual default experience for loans originated in 2006 and 2007. However, for prime loans one would have also had to anticipate that defaults would become much more sensitive to home prices.
Economic Perspectives , Volume 33 , Issue Q II , Pages 18-37

Conference Paper
From the horse’s mouth: gauging conditional expected stock returns from investor surveys


Tempestuous municipal debt markets: Oxymoron or new reality?

Municipal bonds (munis) are issued by states, cities, or other local government agencies. They may be general obligations of the issuer or secured by specified revenues, like fees paid by tollway users. The interest on municipal bonds is usually exempt from federal income taxes. Investors have long regarded these bonds as a relatively safe investment. Not coincidentally, holdings of municipal securities (or munis) have been heavily concentrated among household investors, who own about two-thirds of the $2.9 trillion market.
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue Oct


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