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Correlations between stock returns and bond returns: income and substitution effects

Gwangheon Hong, Youngsoo Kim and Bong-Soo Lee

Quantitative Finance, 2014, vol. 14, issue 11, 1999-2018

Abstract: We attempt to better understand the varying correlations between stock and bond returns across countries and over sample periods using international data. The observation is that there are two forces that affect the correlation between stock and bond returns. The force that drives a positive correlation is identified as the income effect. The force that drives a negative correlation is identified as the substitution effect. In combination, the two effects help determine the actual correlation between stock and bond returns. We contribute to the literature by proposing an empirical method, the structural vector autoregression (VAR) identification method, to identify the two-income and substitution-effects and to measure the relative importance of the two effects that determine the actual net relation between the two asset returns. We further provide some evidence that the income and substitution effects are related to, among other things, the size of the financial market, the growth and volatility (risk) of the economy, and the business cycle over time. In addition, the framework of the income and substitution effects helps us better understand the automatic stabilizing effects of the dynamic optimal asset allocation during business cycles.

Date: 2014
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