Posts in Theoretical Moments
The Life Cycle Hypothesis

Depending on the wording, a search on Google Scholar for papers and research on the link between macroeconomics and demographics yields anywhere between 20,000 and 100,000 results. This is an unhelpful start for someone looking to explore and understand the field. This essay aims to rectify this issue by tracing the origins of the life cycle hypothesis (LCH)—ground zero for linking macroeconomics and demographics—through a close inspection of the 1950s literature that gave birth to the theory. It is motivated by the idea that anyone who wishes to explore this topic needs to have a firm grasp of the original material. A lot can be said for getting the basics right, and this essay is an ode to that idea.

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Has the S&P 500 run ahead of other major asset classes?

The sharp fall in oil prices was the most interesting market news last week. It sends a signal that investors are waking up the fact that the brittle OPEC output deal always was going to be challenged by U.S. producers restarting their drills as prices rose. I am no expert, but this does not come as a surprise to me. OPEC is an unstable alliance, and U.S. producers are governed by one thing and one thing only, price. Whatever detente exists in the global oil market, I am pretty sure that it is a fragile one.  A significant leg lower in oil could be significant for a number of reasons. It could herald the speedy end of the "reflation trade," which would suit me well. But if it morphs into something more dramatic, we're back to the story of stress in energy high yield debt, default risks, and perhaps liquidity/fund closure risk in the broader corporate bond market. I am not sure that would suit the portfolio one bit. 

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