Cointegration and long-run asset allocation
We show that economic restrictions of cointegration between asset cash flows and aggregate consumption have important implications for return dynamics and optimal portfolio rules, particularly at long investment horizons. When cash flows and consumption share a common stochastic trend (i.e., are cointegrated), temporary deviations between their levels forecast long-horizon dividend growth rates and returns, and consequently, alter the term profile of risks and expected returns. We show that the optimal asset allocation based on the error-correction vector autoregression (EC-VAR) specification can be quite different relative to a traditional VAR that ignores the cointegrating relation. Unlike the EC-VAR, the commonly used VAR approach to model expected returns focuses on short-run forecasts and can considerably miss on long-horizon return dynamics, and hence, the optimal portfolio mix in the presence of cointegration. We develop and implement methods to account for parameter uncertainty in the EC-VAR setup and highlight the importance of the error-correction channel for optimal portfolio decisions at various investment horizons. © 2011 American Statistical Association.
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