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Investors Facing Risk: Loss Aversion and Wealth Allocation Between Risky and Risk-Free Assets

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  • Rengifo, Erick W.
  • Trifan, Emanuela
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    Abstract

    This paper studies the impact of loss aversion on decisions regarding the allocation of wealth between risky and risk-free assets. We use a Value-at-Risk portfolio model with endogenous desired risk levels that are individually determined in an extended prospect theory framework. This framework allows for the distinction between gains and losses with respect to a subjective reference point as in the original prospect theory, but also for the influence of past performance on the current perception of the risky portfolio value. We show how the portfolio evaluation frequency impacts investor decisions and attitudes when facing financial losses and analyze the role of past gains and losses in the current wealth allocation. The perceived portfolio value exhibits distinct evolutions in two frequency segments delimitated by what we consider to be the optimal evaluation horizon of one year. Our empirical results suggest that previous research relying on VaR underestimates the aversion of real individual investors to financial losses.

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    File URL: http://www.download.tu-darmstadt.de/wi/vwl/ddpie/ddpie_180.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute of Economics (VWL) in its series Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics with number 28063.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2007
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    Publication status: Published in Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics . 180 (2007-02)
    Handle: RePEc:dar:ddpeco:28063

    Note: for complete metadata visit http://tubiblio.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/28063/
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    Related research

    Keywords: prospect theory; loss aversion; capital allocation; Value-at-Risk; portfolio evaluation;

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    References

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    1. Suleyman Basak & Alex Shapiro, . "Value-at-Risk Based Risk Management: Optimal Policies and Asset Prices," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 06-99, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    2. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1993. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 4369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gneezy, U. & Kapteyn, A. & Potters, J.J.M., 2002. "Evaluation Periods and Asset Prices in a Market Experiment," Discussion Paper 2002-8, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Philippe Artzner & Freddy Delbaen & Jean-Marc Eber & David Heath, 1999. "Coherent Measures of Risk," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 203-228.
    5. Michael Haigh & John List, 2005. "Do professional traders exhibit myopic loss aversion? An experimental analysis," Artefactual Field Experiments 00052, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Berkelaar, Arjan & Kouwenberg, Roy, 2009. "From boom 'til bust: How loss aversion affects asset prices," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1005-1013, June.
    7. Gneezy, Uri & Potters, Jan, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-45, May.
    8. Bechara, Antoine & Damasio, Antonio R., 2005. "The somatic marker hypothesis: A neural theory of economic decision," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 336-372, August.
    9. Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
    10. 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.
    11. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    12. Campbell, Rachel & Huisman, Ronald & Koedijk, Kees, 2001. "Optimal portfolio selection in a Value-at-Risk framework," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(9), pages 1789-1804, September.
    13. Arjan B. Berkelaar & Roy Kouwenberg & Thierry Post, 2004. "Optimal Portfolio Choice under Loss Aversion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 973-987, November.
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