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Imputing Risk Tolerance From Survey Responses

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  • Kimball, Miles S
  • Sahm, Claudia R
  • Shapiro, Matthew D

Abstract

Economic theory assigns a central role to risk preferences. This paper develops a measure of relative risk tolerance using responses to hypothetical income gambles in the Health and Retirement Study. In contrast to most survey measures that produce an ordinal metric, this paper shows how to construct a cardinal proxy for the risk tolerance of each survey respondent. The paper also shows how to account for measurement error in estimating this proxy and how to obtain consistent regression estimates despite the measurement error. The risk tolerance proxy is shown to explain differences in asset allocation across households.
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Suggested Citation

  • Kimball, Miles S & Sahm, Claudia R & Shapiro, Matthew D, 2008. "Imputing Risk Tolerance From Survey Responses," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(483), pages 1028-1038.
  • Handle: RePEc:bes:jnlasa:v:103:i:483:y:2008:p:1028-1038
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Breeden, Douglas T., 1979. "An intertemporal asset pricing model with stochastic consumption and investment opportunities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 265-296, September.
    2. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2000. "Towards an Explanation of Household Portfolio Choice Heterogeneity: Nonfinancial Income and Participation Cost Structures," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1102, Econometric Society.
    4. Claudia R. Sahm, 2007. "Stability of risk preference," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-66, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 1997. "Market Frictions, Savings Behavior, And Portfolio Choice," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 76-101, January.
    6. Christopher D. Carroll & Miles S. Kimball, 2006. "Precautionary Saving and Precautionary Wealth," Economics Working Paper Archive 530, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    7. repec:cup:macdyn:v:1:y:1997:i:1:p:76-101 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Paul A. Samuelson, 2011. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Leonard C MacLean & Edward O Thorp & William T Ziemba (ed.), THE KELLY CAPITAL GROWTH INVESTMENT CRITERION THEORY and PRACTICE, chapter 31, pages 465-472, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    9. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. "Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
    10. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    11. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-257, August.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C24 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models; Threshold Regression Models
    • C42 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Survey Methods
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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