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Time Varying Risk Aversion

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  • Guiso, Luigi
  • Sapienza, Paola
  • Zingales, Luigi

Abstract

We use a repeated survey of an Italian bank’s clients to test whether investors’ risk aversion increases following the 2008 financial crisis. We find that both a qualitative and a quantitative measure of risk aversion increases substantially after the crisis. After considering standard explanations, we investigate whether this increase might be an emotional response (fear) triggered by a scary experience. To show the plausibility of this conjecture, we conduct a lab experiment. We find that subjects who watched a horror movie have a certainty equivalent that is 27% lower than the ones who did not, supporting the fear-based explanation. Finally, we test the fear-based model with actual trading behavior and find consistent evidence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9589.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9589

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Keywords: Fear; Financial Crisis; Risk Aversion;

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References

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  1. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 2000. "Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Background Risk," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 1-26, January.
  2. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-43, June.
  3. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2003. "Risk Aversion, Wealth and Background Risk," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 483, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  5. George Loewenstein, 2000. "Emotions in Economic Theory and Economic Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 426-432, May.
  6. 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.
  7. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  8. Yosef Bonaparte & Russell Cooper, 2010. "Costly Portfolio Adjustment," Economics Working Papers ECO2010/19, European University Institute.
  9. Ulrike Malmendier & Stefan Nagel, 2011. "Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk Taking?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 373-416.
  10. Knutson, Brian & Wimmer, G. Elliott & Kuhnen, Camelia & Winkielman, Piotr, 2008. "Nucleus accumbens activation mediates the influence of reward cues on financial risk-taking," MPRA Paper 8013, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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Cited by:
  1. Eric Swanson, 2013. "Implications of Labor Market Frictions for Risk Aversion and Risk Premia," 2013 Meeting Papers 1137, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Goedde-Menke, Michael & Langer, Thomas & Pfingsten, Andreas, 2014. "Impact of the financial crisis on bank run risk – Danger of the days after," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 522-533.
  3. Ampudia, Miguel & Ehrmann, Michael, 2014. "Macroeconomic experiences and risk taking of euro area households," Working Paper Series 1652, European Central Bank.
  4. Francesco Zanetti, 2014. "Housing and Relative Risk Aversion," Economics Series Working Papers 693, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Bruno Giovannetti & Mauro Rodrigues, Eduardo Ros, 2014. "Investment Grade, Asset Prices and Changes in the Source of Systematic Risk," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2014_05, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
  6. Friehe, Tim & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2014. "Crime and Self-Control Revisited: Disentangling the Effect of Self-Control on Risk and Social Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 8109, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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