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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. Kihlstrom, Richard E. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1974. "Risk aversion with many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 361-388, July.
  2. Bommier, Antoine & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2003. "Risk Aversion and Planning Horizon," IDEI Working Papers 204, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Nov 2004.
  3. Andrew B. Abel, 1998. "Risk Premia and Term Premia in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 6683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gomes, Francisco J & Michaelides, Alexander, 2007. "Asset Pricing with Limited Risk Sharing and Heterogeneous Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 6136, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1481-1509, 08.
  8. Monika Piazzesi & Martin Schneider, 2006. "Equilibrium Yield Curves," NBER Working Papers 12609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Monika Piazzesi & Martin Schneider, 2007. "Equilibrium Yield Curves," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 389-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Scott F. Richard, 1975. "Multivariate Risk Aversion, Utility Independence and Separable Utility Functions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(1), pages 12-21, September.
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  11. Lars Peter Hansen & John C. Heaton & Nan Li, 2008. "Consumption Strikes Back? Measuring Long-Run Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 260-302, 04.
  12. 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.
  13. Kandel, Shmuel & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1991. "Asset returns and intertemporal preferences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 39-71, February.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Antoine Bommier, Francois Le Grand, . "Too Risk Averse to Purchase Insurance? A Theoretical Glance at the Annuity Puzzle," Working Papers ETH-RC-12-002, ETH Zurich, Chair of Systems Design.
  3. Stanislav Khrapov, 2012. "Risk Premia: Short and Long-term," Working Papers w0169, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).

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