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Rational Expectations and Ambiguity: A Comment on Abel

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  • Alexander Ludwig

    ()

  • Alexander Zimper

    (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

Abstract

Abel (2002) proposes a resolution of the riskfree rate and the equity premium puzzles by considering pessimism and doubt. Pessimism is characterized by subjective probabilistic beliefs about asset returns that are stochastically dominated by the objective distribution of these returns. The subjective distribution is characterized by doubt if it is a mean- preserving spread of the objective distribution. This note offers a decision theoretic foundation of Abel's ad-hoc definitions of pessimism and doubt under the assumption that individuals exhibit ambiguity attitudes in the sense of Schmeidler (1989). In particular, we show that the behavior of a representative agent, who resolves her uncertainty with respect to the true distribution of asset returns in a pessimistic way, is the equivalent to pessimism in Abel's sense. Furthermore, a representative agent, who takes into account pessimistic as well as optimistic considerations, may result in the equivalent to doubt in Abel's sense.

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Paper provided by Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in its series MEA discussion paper series with number 04066.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:04066

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  1. Wakker, Peter & Tversky, Amos, 1993. " An Axiomatization of Cumulative Prospect Theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 147-75, October.
  2. David Schmeidler, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7662, David K. Levine.
  3. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  4. Phillippe Weil, 1997. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Risk-Free Rate Puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1833, David K. Levine.
  5. Jürgen Eichberger & David Kelsey, 1999. "E-Capacities and the Ellsberg Paradox," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 107-138, April.
  6. Wakker, Peter P, 2001. "Testing and Characterizing Properties of Nonadditive Measures through Violations of the Sure-Thing Principle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1039-59, July.
  7. Sarin, Rakesh K & Wakker, Peter, 1992. "A Simple Axiomatization of Nonadditive Expected Utility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1255-72, November.
  8. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  9. Epstein, Larry G, 1999. "A Definition of Uncertainty Aversion," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 579-608, July.
  10. Tversky, Amos & Wakker, Peter, 1995. "Risk Attitudes and Decision Weights," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1255-80, November.
  11. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  12. Quiggin, John & Horowitz, John, 1995. "Time and Risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 37-55, January.
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