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Are Risk Averse Agents More Optimistic? A Bayesian Estimation Approach

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  • Elyès Jouini

    ()
    (CEREMADE - CEntre de REcherches en MAthématiques de la DEcision - CNRS : UMR7534 - Université Paris Dauphine - Paris IX)

  • Selima Ben Mansour

    (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris Dauphine - Paris IX)

  • Clotilde Napp

    (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris Dauphine - Paris IX)

  • Jean-Michel Marin

    (INRIA Saclay - Ile de France - SELECT - INRIA - Université Paris Sud - Paris XI - CNRS : UMR)

  • Christian Robert

    (CEREMADE - CEntre de REcherches en MAthématiques de la DEcision - CNRS : UMR7534 - Université Paris Dauphine - Paris IX)

Abstract

Our aim is to analyze the link between optimism and risk aversion in a subjective expected utility setting and to estimate the average level of optimism when weighted by risk tolerance. This quantity is of particular importance since it characterizes the consensus belief in risk-taking situations with heterogeneous beliefs. Its estimation leads to a nontrivial statistical problem. We start from a large lottery survey (1,536 individuals). We assume that individuals have true unobservable characteristics and that their answers in the survey are noisy realizations of these characteristics. We adopt a Bayesian approach for the statistical analysis of this problem and use an hybrid MCMC approximation method to numerically estimate the distributions of the unobservable characteristics. We obtain that individuals are on average pessimistic and that pessimism and risk tolerance are positively correlated. As a consequence, we conclude that the consensus belief is biased towards pessimism.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00176629.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Publication status: Published, Journal of Applied Econometrics, 2008, 843-860
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00176629

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Keywords: Bayesian estimation; MCMC scheme; importance sampling; pessimism; risk tolerance; risk aversion; consensus belief;

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Cited by:
  1. Elyès Jouini & Clotilde Napp, 2008. "Are More Risk-Averse Agents More Optimistic? Insights from a Simple Rational Expectations Equilibrium Model," Post-Print halshs-00176630, HAL.
  2. Alessandro Bucciol & Raffaele Miniaci, 2011. "Household Portfolios and Implicit Risk Preference," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1235-1250, November.
  3. Giuseppe Albanese & Guido de Blasio & Paolo Sestito, 2013. "Trust and preferences: evidence from survey data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 911, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Menapace, Luisa & Colson, Gregory, 2012. "On the Validity of Gamble Tasks to Assess Farmers' Risk Attitudes," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124601, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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