The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper investigates the increasing exposure of European households to risky financial assets and the consequent impact on the economy. I analyze household data for Italy and the United Kingdom, countries that differ dramatically in their financial structure and capital markets. I estimate an endogenous switching model with bivariate switching to overcome two important obstacles in this line of research, namely, the consumption Capital Asset Pricing Model Puzzle and the excess sensitivity puzzle. The results show that there are wealth effects in both countries. I find some evidence of liquidity constraints only in Italy and habit formation exclusively in the United Kingdom.