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Empirical risk aversion functions-estimates and assessment of their reliability

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  • Kang, Byung Jin
  • Kim, Tong Suk
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    Abstract

    In this paper, we examine investor's risk preferences implied by option prices. In order to derive these preferences, we specify the functional form of a pricing kernel and then shift its parameters until realized returns are best explained by the subjective probability density function, which consists of the ratio of the risk-neutral probability density function and the pricing kernel. We examine, alternatively, pricing kernels of power, exponential, and higher order polynomial forms. Using S&P 500 index options, we find surprising evidence of risk neutrality, instead of risk aversion, in both the power and exponential cases. When extending the underlying assumption on the specification of the pricing kernel to one of higher order polynomial functions, we obtain functions exhibiting 'monotonically decreasing' relative risk aversion (DRRA) and anomalous 'inverted U-shaped' relative risk aversion. We find, however, that only the DRRA function is robust to variation in sample characteristics, and is statistically significant. Finally, we also find that most of our empirical results are consistent, even when taking into account market imperfections such as illiquidity.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Review of Financial Analysis.

    Volume (Year): 17 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 5 (December)
    Pages: 1123-1138

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:finana:v:17:y:2008:i:5:p:1123-1138

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620166

    Related research

    Keywords: Risk aversion Pricing kernel Risk-neutral probability density function;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Robert R. Bliss & Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, 2004. "Option-Implied Risk Aversion Estimates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(1), pages 407-446, 02.
    2. Kang, Byung Jin & Kim, Tong Suk, 2006. "Option-implied risk preferences: An extension to wider classes of utility functions," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 180-198, May.
    3. Bliss, Robert R. & Panigirtzoglou, Nikolaos, 2002. "Testing the stability of implied probability density functions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(2-3), pages 381-422, March.
    4. Nikkinen, Jussi, 2003. "Normality tests of option-implied risk-neutral densities: evidence from the small Finnish market," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 99-116.
    5. Breeden, Douglas T & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1978. "Prices of State-contingent Claims Implicit in Option Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 621-51, October.
    6. Berkowitz, Jeremy, 2001. "Testing Density Forecasts, with Applications to Risk Management," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(4), pages 465-74, October.
    7. Joshua Rosenberg & Robert F. Engle, 2000. "Empirical Pricing Kernels," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 99-014, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
    8. Jens Carsten Jackwerth, 1998. "Recovering Risk Aversion from Option Prices and Realized Returns," Finance 9803002, EconWPA.
    9. Yacine Ait-Sahalia & Andrew W. Lo, 2000. "Nonparametric Risk Management and Implied Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 6130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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