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Is There Evidence of Pessimism and Doubt in Subjective Distributions? A Comment on Abel

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  • Giordani, Paolo
  • Söderlind, Paul

Abstract

Abel (2002) shows that pessimism and doubt in the subjective distribution of the growth rate of consumption reduce the risk-free rate puzzle and the equity premium puzzle. We quantify the amount of pessimism and doubt in survey data on US consumption and income. Individual forecasters are, in fact, pessimistic, but show marked overconfidence rather than doubt. Whether this implies that overconfidence should be built into Abel’s model depends on how the empirically heterogeneous subjective distributions are mapped into the distribution of a fictitious representative agent. We work out the form of this mapping in an Arrow-Debreu economy and show that the equity premium increases with the dispersion of beliefs. We then estimate this aggregate distribution and find little evidence of either overconfidence or doubt.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4068.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4068

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Keywords: aggregation of beliefs; C42; equity premium; livingston survey; risk-free rate; survey of professional forecasters;

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  1. Christoffersen, Peter F, 1998. "Evaluating Interval Forecasts," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 841-62, November.
  2. Giordani, Paolo & Soderlind, Paul, 2000. "Inflation Forecast Uncertainty," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 384, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 09 Oct 2000.
  3. Andrew B. Abel, 2001. "An Exploration of the Effects of Pessimism and Doubt on Asset Returns," NBER Working Papers 8132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Varian, Hal R, 1985. " Divergence of Opinion in Complete Markets: A Note," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(1), pages 309-17, March.
  5. Louis K. C. Chan & Jason Karceski & Josef Lakonishok, 2003. "The Level and Persistence of Growth Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(2), pages 643-684, 04.
  6. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
  7. Richard H. Thaler, 2000. "From Homo Economicus to Homo Sapiens," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 133-141, Winter.
  8. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, 2001. "Prospect Theory And Asset Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 1-53, February.
  9. Benartzi, Shlomo & Thaler, Richard H, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92, February.
  10. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  11. Rubinstein, Mark, 1974. "An aggregation theorem for securities markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 225-244, September.
  12. Aaron Tornell, 2000. "Robust-H-infinity Forecasting and Asset Pricing Anomalies," NBER Working Papers 7753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Detemple Jerome & Murthy Shashidhar, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Beliefs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 294-320, April.
  14. Hirshleifer, David, 2001. "Investor Psychology and Asset Pricing," MPRA Paper 5300, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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Cited by:
  1. Dreber, Anna & Rand, David G. & Garcia, Justin R. & Wernerfelt, Nils & Lum, J. Koji & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2010. "Dopamine and Risk Preferences in Different Domains," Working Paper Series rwp10-012, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Olivier Armantier & Nicolas Treich, 2006. "Overbidding in Independant Private-Values Auctions and Misperception of Probabilities," CIRANO Working Papers 2006s-15, CIRANO.
  3. Elyès Jouini & Clotilde Napp, 2008. "On Abel's Concept of Doubt and Pessimism," Post-Print halshs-00176611, HAL.
  4. Joseph Engelberg & Charles F. Manski & Jared Williams, 2006. "Comparing the Point Predictions and Subjective Probability Distributions of Professional Forecasters," NBER Working Papers 11978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Verma, Rahul & Soydemir, Gökçe, 2009. "The impact of individual and institutional investor sentiment on the market price of risk," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 1129-1145, August.
  6. Jouini, Elyès & Napp, Clotilde, 2008. "On Abel's Concepts of Doubt and Pessimism," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/198, Paris Dauphine University.
  7. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 2012. "Information Disclosure and Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 195-234, 02.
  8. Jouini, Elyes & Napp, Clotilde, 2006. "Heterogeneous beliefs and asset pricing in discrete time: An analysis of pessimism and doubt," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1233-1260, July.
  9. Rydqvist, Kristian, 2010. "Tax Arbitrage with Risk and Effort Aversion - Swedish Lottery Bonds 1970-1990," SIFR Research Report Series 70, Institute for Financial Research.

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