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Household Portfolios and Implicit Risk Aversion

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  • Alessandro Bucciol
  • Raffaele Miniaci

Abstract

We derive from a sample of US households the distribution of the risk aversion implicit in their portfolio choice. Our estimate minimizes the distance between the certainty equivalent return generated with observed portfolios and portfolios that are optimal in a mean-variance framework. Taking into account real wealth and constraints in portfolio composition, we obtain a median risk aversion coefficient of 2.7 and observe substantial heterogeneity across individuals. Our analysis informs that risk aversion reduces with wealth and education, and increases with age. Disregarding real wealth and constraints, our estimates are markedly larger and the direction of the above correlations differs. The inferred optimization bias is small, especially with over-simplified portfolios.

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Paper provided by University of Brescia, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0808.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ubs:wpaper:0808

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  1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jurgen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2005. "Individual risk attitudes: New evidence from a large, representative, experimentally-validated survey," Framed Field Experiments 00140, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Donkers, Bas & Melenberg, Bertrand & Van Soest, Arthur, 2001. " Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries: A Large Sample Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 165-95, March.
  3. Cohn, Richard A, et al, 1975. "Individual Investor Risk Aversion and Investment Portfolio Composition," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 30(2), pages 605-20, May.
  4. Syngjoo Choi & Raymond Fisman & Douglas Gale & Shachar Kariv, 2007. "Consistency and Heterogeneity of Individual Behavior under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1921-1938, December.
  5. 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.
  6. Joao F. Cocco, 2005. "Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Housing," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(2), pages 535-567.
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Cited by:
  1. Alessandro Fedele & Paolo M. Panteghini & Sergio Vergalli, 2010. "Optimal Investment and Financial Strategies under Tax Rate Uncertainty," Working Papers 2010.68, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. Bisin, A. & Geanakoplos, J.D. & Gottardi, P. & Minelli, E. & Polemarchakis, H., 2011. "Markets and contracts," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 279-288.
  3. Alessandra Del Boca & Michele Fratianni & Franco Spinelli & Carmine Trecroci, 2008. "The Phillips Curve and the Italian Lira, 1861-1998," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 8, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  4. Alessandro Fedele & Raffaele Miniaci, 2010. "Do Social Enterprises Finance Their Investments Differently from For-profit Firms? The Case of Social Residential Services in Italy," Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 174-189, October.
  5. Luca Riccetti, 2013. "A copula–GARCH model for macro asset allocation of a portfolio with commodities," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 1315-1336, June.
  6. Monica Billio & Roberto Casarin, 2010. "Bayesian Estimation of Stochastic-Transition Markov-Switching Models for Business Cycle Analysis," Working Papers 1002, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
  7. Francesco Menoncin & Paolo Panteghini, 2009. "Retrospective Capital Gains taxation in the real world," Working Papers 0910, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
  8. Rosella Levaggi & Francesco Menoncin, 2009. "Decentralized provision of merit and impure public goods," Working Papers 0909, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
  9. Martin Meier & Enrico Minelli & Herakles Polemarchakis, 2014. "Competitive markets with private information on both sides," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 55(2), pages 257-280, February.
  10. Alessandro Fedele & Francesco Liucci & Andrea Mantovani, 2009. "Credit availability in the crisis: the European investment bank group," Working Papers 0913, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.

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