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Comparative Risk Aversion: A Formal Approach with Applications to Saving Behaviors

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Author Info

  • Antoine Bommier

    ()
    (CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Arnold Chassagnon

    ()
    (Paris School of Economics and Paris-Dauphine University)

  • François Le Grand

    ()
    (EMLyon Business School)

Abstract

We consider a formal approach to comparative risk aversion and applies it to intertemporal choice models. This allows us to ask whether standard classes of utility functions, such as those inspired by Kihlstrom and Mirman [15], Selden [26], Epstein and Zin [9] and Quiggin [24] are well-ordered in terms of risk aversion. Moreover, opting for this model-free approach allows us to establish new general results on the impact of risk aversion on savings behaviors. In particular, we show that risk aversion enhances precautionary savings, clarifying the link that exists between the notions of prudence and risk aversion.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich in its series CER-ETH Economics working paper series with number 10/134.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:10-134

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Keywords: Risk aversion; Savings behaviors; Precautionary savings;

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References

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  1. Kimball, M. & Weil, P., 1991. "Precautionary Savings and Consumption Smoothing Across Time and Possibilities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1563, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Segal, Uzi & Spivak, Avia & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Precautionary saving and risk aversion : An anticipated utility approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 223-227.
  3. Jérôme Foncel & Nicolas Treich, 2005. "Fear of Ruin," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 289-300, December.
  4. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
  5. Langlais, Eric, 1995. "A measure of the sensitivity of saving to interest rate uncertainty with non-expected preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 325-330, June.
  6. DREZE, Jacques H. & MODIGLIANI, Franco, . "Cosumption decisions under uncertainty," CORE Discussion Papers RP -119, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  8. Caperaa, Philippe & Eeckhoudt, Louis, 1975. "Delayed risks and risk premiums," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 309-320, September.
  9. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00212281 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Antoine Bommier, 2006. "Uncertain Lifetime And Intertemporal Choice: Risk Aversion As A Rationale For Time Discounting," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1223-1246, November.
  11. Justin P. Johnson & David P. Myatt, 2006. "On the Simple Economics of Advertising, Marketing, and Product Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 756-784, June.
  12. David M Kreps & Evan L Porteus, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000009, David K. Levine.
  13. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
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  15. Jewitt, Ian, 1987. "Risk Aversion and the Choice between Risky Prospects: The Preservation of Comparative Statics Results," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 73-85, January.
  16. Chew, Soo Hong & Epstein, Larry G., 1990. "Nonexpected utility preferences in a temporal framework with an application to consumption-savings behaviour," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 54-81, February.
  17. Grant, Simon & Quiggin, John, 2004. "Increasing Uncertainty: A Definition," Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers 151163, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  18. Yaari, Menahem E., 1969. "Some remarks on measures of risk aversion and on their uses," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 315-329, October.
  19. Kihlstrom, Richard E. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1974. "Risk aversion with many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 361-388, July.
  20. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
  21. Han Bleichrodt & Louis Eeckhoudt, 2005. "Saving under rank-dependent utility," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 505-511, 02.
  22. Chateauneuf, Alain & Cohen, Michele & Meilijson, Isaac, 2004. "Four notions of mean-preserving increase in risk, risk attitudes and applications to the rank-dependent expected utility model," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 547-571, August.
  23. Selden, Larry, 1978. "A New Representation of Preferences over "Certain A Uncertain" Consumption Pairs: The "Ordinal Certainty Equivalent" Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1045-60, September.
  24. Sandmo, Agnar, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 353-60, July.
  25. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  26. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jonathan Benchimol, 2012. "Risk Aversion in the Euro area," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00713669, HAL.
  2. Leonard Mirman & Marc Santugini, 2014. "On risk aversion, classical demand theory, and KM preferences," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 51-66, February.
  3. Antoine Bommier, 2011. "Life-Cycle Preferences Revisited," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 11/155, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  4. Antoine Bommier & François Le Grand, 2012. "Too Risk Averse to Purchase Insurance? A Theoretical Glance at the Annuity Puzzle," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 12/157, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  5. Antoine Bommier & François Le Grand, 2013. "A Robust Approach to Risk Aversion," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 13/172, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  6. Svenja Hector, 2013. "Accounting for Different Uncertainties: Implications for Climate Investments?," Working Papers 2013.107, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  7. Gajdos, Thibault & Weymark, John A., 2012. "Introduction to inequality and risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1313-1330.
  8. A. Mantovi, 2013. "Mapping completely proper rationality," Economics Department Working Papers 2013-EP01, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
  9. Svenja Hector(), . "Accounting for Different Uncertainties: Implications for Climate Investments?," Working Papers ETH-RC-13-007, ETH Zurich, Chair of Systems Design.

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