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An Economic Index of Riskiness

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  • Robert J. Aumann
  • Roberto Serrano

Abstract

Define the riskiness of a gamble as the reciprocal of the absolute risk aversion (ARA) of an individual with constant ARA who is indifferent between taking and not taking that gamble. We characterize this index by axioms, chief among them a "duality" axiom that, roughly speaking, asserts that less risk-averse individuals accept riskier gambles. The index is positively homogeneous, continuous, and subadditive; respects first- and second-order stochastic dominance; and for normally distributed gambles is half of variance/mean. Examples are calculated, additional properties are derived, and the index is compared with others. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 116 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 810-836

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:116:y:2008:i:5:p:810-836

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  1. Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risk Aversion and Expected Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7667, David K. Levine.
  2. Hanoch, G & Levy, Haim, 1969. "The Efficiency Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(107), pages 335-46, July.
  3. Philippe Artzner & Freddy Delbaen & Jean-Marc Eber & David Heath, 1999. "Coherent Measures of Risk," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 203-228.
  4. Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio & Serrano, Roberto, 2006. "Rejecting small gambles under expected utility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 250-259, May.
  5. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
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  7. Tobin, James, 1969. "Comment on Borch and Feldstein," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(105), pages 13-14, January.
  8. Aumann, Robert J & Kurz, Mordecai, 1977. "Power and Taxes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(5), pages 1137-61, July.
  9. Diamond, Peter A. & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1974. "Increases in risk and in risk aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 337-360, July.
  10. Peter C. Fishburn, 1984. "Foundations of Risk Measurement. I. Risk As Probable Loss," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(4), pages 396-406, April.
  11. Fishburn, Peter C, 1977. "Mean-Risk Analysis with Risk Associated with Below-Target Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 116-26, March.
  12. Levy, Haim & Hanoch, Giora, 1970. "Relative Effectiveness of Efficiency Criteria for Portfolio Selection," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 63-76, March.
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