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Household Portfolio Diversification: A Case for Rank-Dependent Preferences

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  • Valery Polkovnichenko

Abstract

The proliferation of novel preference theories in financial economics is hampered by a lack of non-experimental evidence and by the theories' additional complexity which has not been shown to be critical in applications. In this article I present arguments in support of preferences with rank dependency. Using the Survey of Consumer Finances data, I document two widespread patterns inconsistent with expected utility: (i) many households simultaneously invest in well-deversified funds and in poorly-diversified portfolios of stocks; and (ii) some households with substantial savings do not invest anything in equities. I show that portfolio choice models with rank-dependent preferences, plausibly parameterized and under fully rational assumptions, are quantitatively consistent with the observed diversification. These results call for further efforts to integrate the models of rank-dependent preferences in portfolio theory and asset pricing. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal The Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 18 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1467-1502

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:18:y:2005:i:4:p:1467-1502

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