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What Does the Risk-Appetite Index Measure?

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  • Miroslav Misina

Abstract

Explanations of changes in asset prices as being due to exogenous changes in risk appetite, although arguably controversial, have been popular in the financial community and have also received some attention in attempts to account for recent financial crises. Operational versions of these explanations are based on the assumption that changes in asset prices can be decomposed into a part that can be attributed to changes in riskiness and a part attributable to changes in risk aversion, and that some quantitative measure can capture these effects in isolation. One such measure, the risk-appetite index (RAI)-- used in the financial community as well as in assessments of financial stability in emerging markets -- is based on the rank correlation between assets' riskiness and excess returns. The author seeks to provide a theoretical foundation for this measure. He summarizes the arguments behind the index in two propositions and attempts to derive these propositions within a class of well-specified asset-pricing models. His results indicate that, whereas the exclusive attribution of the rank effect to changes in risk aversion is problematic in general, a specific set of circumstances can be identified in which this attribution is permissible. The key assumption is identified, and its empirical implications are examined. In cases where this assumption is shown to be empirically valid, the model provides a theoretical foundation for the RAI.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 03-23.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:03-23

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Keywords: Economic models; Financial markets;

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References

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  1. Jean-Pierre Danthine & John B. Donaldson & Christos Giannikos & Hany Guirguis, 2004. "On the Consequences of State Dependent Preferences for the Pricing of Financial Assets," FAME Research Paper Series rp73, International Center for Financial Asset Management and Engineering.
  2. Miroslav Misina, 2003. "Are Distorted Beliefs Too Good to be True?," Working Papers 03-4, Bank of Canada.
  3. Kumar, Manmohan S & Persaud, Avinash, 2002. "Pure Contagion and Investors' Shifting Risk Appetite: Analytical Issues and Empirical Evidence," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(3), pages 401-36, Winter.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Miroslav Misina, 2006. "Benchmark Index of Risk Appetite," Working Papers 06-16, Bank of Canada.
  2. Riccardo Rebonato, 2006. "Forward-Rate Volatilities And The Swaption Matrix: Why Neither Time-Homogeneity Nor Time-Dependence Are Enough," International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Finance (IJTAF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 9(05), pages 705-746.
  3. Manolescu, Gheorghe, 2011. "Appetite For Risk Of The Bank (I)," Studii Financiare (Financial Studies), Centre of Financial and Monetary Research "Victor Slavescu", vol. 15(2), pages 209-223.
  4. Coudert, Virginie & Gex, Mathieu, 2008. "Does risk aversion drive financial crises? Testing the predictive power of empirical indicators," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 167-184, March.
  5. Forbes, Kristin J. & Warnock, Francis E., 2012. "Capital flow waves: Surges, stops, flight, and retrenchment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 235-251.
  6. Claudio E. V. Borio, 2004. "Market distress and vanishing liquidity: anatomy and policy options," BIS Working Papers 158, Bank for International Settlements.
  7. Kristin J. Forbes & Francis E. Warnock, 2012. "Debt- and Equity-Led Capital Flow Episodes," NBER Working Papers 18329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Prasanna Gai & Nicholas Vause, 2005. "Measuring investors' risk appetite," Bank of England working papers 283, Bank of England.
  9. Brenda González-Hermosillo & Vance Martin & Mardi Dungey & Renee Fry, 2003. "Characterizing Global Investors' Risk Appetite for Emerging Market Debt During Financial Crises," IMF Working Papers 03/251, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Marcello Pericoli & Massimo Sbracia, 2006. "The CAPM and the risk appetite index; theoretical differences and empirical similarities," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 586, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  11. Kristin J. Forbes & Francis E. Warnock, 2012. "Capital Debt -and Equity-Led Capital Flow Episodes," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 676, Central Bank of Chile.
  12. Birgit Uhlenbrock, 2009. "Financial markets' appetite for risk - and the challenge of assessing its evolution by risk appetite indicators," IFC Bulletins chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Proceedings of the IFC Conference on "Measuring financial innovation and its impact", Basel, 26-27 August 2008, volume 31, pages 221-259 Bank for International Settlements.
  13. Marc Boissaux & Jang Schiltz, 2010. "An Optimal Control Approach to Portfolio Optimisation with Conditioning Information," LSF Research Working Paper Series 10-09, Luxembourg School of Finance, University of Luxembourg.

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