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Estimates of the Marginal Rate of Time Preference and Average Risk Aversion of Investors in Electric Utility Shares: 1960-66

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  • Robert H. Litzenberger
  • Cherukuri U. Rao
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    Abstract

    This paper develops an econometric model of the valuation of electric utility shares. This model, based upon the Sharpe-Lintner capital market theory, yields indirect estimates of the marginal rate of time preference and average risk aversion of investors in electric utility shares during the period 1960-66. In general, the empirical findings are consistent with the Sharpe-Lintner positive theory of the valuation of risk assets. Investors are found to be risk averse, and the relationship between required return and standard deviation is found to be approximately linear within the range of the sample. From a normative perspective, these estimates of the marginal rate of time preference and risk aversion are shown to yield individual firm cost of capital estimates. In a prior study of the cost of capital to the electric utility industry, Miller and Modigliani assumed that electric utilities were homogeneous with respect to operating risk. The approach employed in the present study takes explicit cognizance of intra-industry differences in operating risk. That is, each firm is considered to be in a unique "risk class," and hence to have a unique marginal cost of equity capital.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal Bell Journal of Economics.

    Volume (Year): 2 (1971)
    Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
    Pages: 265-277

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    Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:2:y:1971:i:spring:p:265-277

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    Cited by:
    1. Arthur J. Robson & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "The Evolution of Time Preference with Aggregate Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1925-53, December.

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