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Stability of risk preference

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  • Claudia R. Sahm

Abstract

Stability of preferences is central to how economists study behavior. This paper uses panel data on hypothetical gambles over lifetime income in the Health and Retirement Study to quantify changes in risk tolerance over time and differences across individuals. The maximum-likelihood estimation of a correlated random effects model utilizes information from 12,000 respondents in the 1992-2002 HRS. The results support constant relative risk aversion and career selection on preferences. While risk tolerance changes with age and macroeconomic conditions, persistent differences across individuals account for 73% of the systematic variation. The measure of risk tolerance also relates to actual stock ownership.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2007-66.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-66

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Keywords: Risk-taking (Psychology) ; Risk;

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References

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  1. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques & Turner, Laure, 2006. "Identifying Age, Cohort and Period Effects in Scientific Research Productivity - Discussion and Illustration Using Simulated and Actual Data on French Physicists," MERIT Working Papers 042, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  2. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2012. "The intergenerational transmission of risk and trust attitudes," Munich Reprints in Economics 20051, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  4. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  5. Donkers, A.C.D. & Melenberg, B. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 1999. "Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries; A Large Sample Approach," Discussion Paper 1999-12, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
  7. James Smith, 2005. "Consequences and Predictors of New Health Events," NBER Chapters, in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 213-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Melvin Stephens, 2001. "The Long-Run Consumption Effects Of Earnings Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 28-36, February.
  9. E. Philip Howrey, 2001. "The Predictive Power of the Index of Consumer Sentiment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 175-216.
  10. Miles S. Kimball & Claudia R. Sahm & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2007. "Imputing Risk Tolerance from Survey Responses," NBER Working Papers 13337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-24, March.
  14. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
  15. Nicola Fuchs-Schundeln & Matthias Schundeln, 2005. "Precautionary Savings and Self-Selection - Evidence from the German Reunification "Experiment"," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2069, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  16. Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln & Matthias Schündeln, 2005. "Precautionary Savings and Self-Selection: Evidence from the German Reunification "Experiment"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1085-1120, August.
  17. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Stefan Nagel, 2006. "Do Wealth Fluctuations Generate Time-varying Risk Aversion? Micro-Evidence on Individuals' Asset Allocation," NBER Working Papers 12809, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Lee Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 2001. "Cognition and Wealth: The Importance of Probabilistic Thinking," Working Papers wp007, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  19. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Daniel J. Benjamin & James J. Choi & A. Joshua Strickland, 2010. "Social Identity and Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1913-28, September.
  2. Luc Arrondel & André Masson, 2013. "Measuring savers' preferences how and why?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00834203, HAL.
  3. Ulrike Malmendier & Stefan Nagel, 2009. "Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk-Taking?," NBER Working Papers 14813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kimball, Miles S & Sahm, Claudia R & Shapiro, Matthew D, 2008. "Imputing Risk Tolerance From Survey Responses," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(483), pages 1028-1038.
  5. Daniel J. Benjamin & James J. Choi & Geoffrey W. Fisher, 2010. "Religious Identity and Economic Behavior," NBER Working Papers 15925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Audrey Light & Taehyun Ahn, 2007. "Divorce as Risky Behavior," Working Papers 07-06, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.

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