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Optimal portfolio choice when utility depends on health

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  • Ryan D. Edwards

Abstract

This paper examines optimal portfolio choice when health can change the shape of the utility function. If adverse health shocks threaten to increase the marginal utility of consumption, that is, if they are Edgeworth–Pareto substitutes, risky health prompts individuals to lower their risky portfolio shares. Health naturally becomes more uncertain with age, so this theory might help to explain why aging investors gradually decrease their risk exposure even when asset returns display no mean reversion and relative risk aversion is constant.

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  • Ryan D. Edwards, 2010. "Optimal portfolio choice when utility depends on health," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 6(2), pages 205-225, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ijethy:v:6:y:2010:i:2:p:205-225
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-7363.2010.00131.x
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    2. Salamanca, Nicolás & de Grip, Andries & Sleijpen, Olaf, 2020. "How People React to Pension Risk," IZA Discussion Papers 13077, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Padmaja Ayyagari & Daifeng He, 2017. "The Role of Medical Expenditure Risk in Portfolio Allocation Decisions," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(11), pages 1447-1458, November.
    4. Zijie Tang, 2019. "Economic Cycle and the Large-Scale Asset Allocation Strategy of Chinese National Social Security Fund," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 9(12), pages 1405-1418, December.
    5. Vicki L. Bogan & Angela R. Fertig, 2013. "Portfolio Choice and Mental Health," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(3), pages 955-992.
    6. Botzen, W.J.W. & van den Bergh, J.C.J.M., 2012. "Risk attitudes to low-probability climate change risks: WTP for flood insurance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 151-166.
    7. Andrew Grant & Steve Satchell, 2019. "Endogenous divorce risk and investment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 845-876, July.
    8. Schendel, Lorenz S., 2014. "Critical illness insurance in life cycle portfolio problems," SAFE Working Paper Series 44, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.

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