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Seasonality and Consumption-Based Asset Pricing

The Journal of Finance, 47 (1992): 511-552

Wayne E. Ferson

University of Washington

Campbell R. Harvey

Duke University


Most of the evidence on consumption-based asset pricing is based on seasonally adjusted consumption data. The consumption-based models have not worked well for explaining asset returns, but with seasonally adjusted data there are reasons to expect spurious rejections of the models. This paper examines asset pricing models using not seasonally adjusted aggregate consumption data. We find evidence against models with time-separable preferences, even when the models incorporate seasonality and allow seasonal heteroskedasticity. A model that uses not seasonally adjusted consumption data and nonseparable preferences with seasonal effects works better according to several criteria. The parameter estimates imply a form of seasonal habit persistence in aggregate consumption expenditures.