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Temporal risk aversion and asset prices

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  • Skander J. Van den Heuvel

Abstract

Agents with standard, time-separable preferences do not care about the temporal distribution of risk. This is a strong assumption. For example, it seems plausible that a consumer may find persistent shocks to consumption less desirable than uncorrelated fluctuations. Such a consumer is said to exhibit temporal risk aversion. This paper examines the implications of temporal risk aversion for asset prices. The innovation is to work with expected utility preferences that (i) are not time-separable, (ii) exhibit temporal risk aversion, (iii) separate risk aversion from the intertemporal elasticity of substitution, (iv) separate short-run from long-run risk aversion and (v) yield stationary asset pricing implications in the context of an endowment economy. Closed form solutions are derived for the equity premium and the risk free rate. The equity premium depends only on a parameter indexing long-run risk aversion. The risk-free rate instead depends primarily on a separate parameter indexing the desire to smooth consumption over time and the rate of time preference.

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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 2008-37.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2008-37

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Keywords: Financial risk management ; Asset pricing;

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References

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  1. TallariniJr., Thomas D., 2000. "Risk-sensitive real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 507-532, June.
  2. Shmuel Kandel & Robert F. Stambaugh, 1991. "Asset Returns and Intertemporal Preferences," NBER Working Papers 3633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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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  8. Scott F. Richard, 1975. "Multivariate Risk Aversion, Utility Independence and Separable Utility Functions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(1), pages 12-21, September.
  9. Andrew B. Abel, 1998. "Risk Premia and Term Premia in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 6683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2008. "Asset Pricing with Limited Risk Sharing and Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 415-448, January.
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  13. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Kihlstrom, Richard, 2009. "Risk aversion and the elasticity of substitution in general dynamic portfolio theory: Consistent planning by forward looking, expected utility maximizing investors," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(9-10), pages 634-663, September.
  3. Stanislav Khrapov, 2012. "Risk Premia: Short and Long-term," Working Papers w0169, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).

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