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Rational expectations and ambiguity: A comment on Abel (2002)

  • Alexander Zimper

    ()

    (Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim)

  • Alexander Ludwig

    ()

    (Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging, University of Mannheim)

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 consumption growth rates that are stochastically dominated by the objective distribution. 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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Article provided by AccessEcon in its journal Economics Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 4 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 1-15

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Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-05d80045
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  1. Tversky, Amos & Wakker, Peter, 1995. "Risk Attitudes and Decision Weights," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1255-80, November.
  2. Eichberger, J. & Kelsey, D., 1996. "E-Capacities and the Ellsberg Paradox," Discussion Papers 96-13, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
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  4. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
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  8. Chateauneuf, Alain & Eichberger, Jurgen & Grant, Simon, 2007. "Choice under uncertainty with the best and worst in mind: Neo-additive capacities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 538-567, November.
  9. Lars Hansen & Thomas Sargent & Thomas Tallarini, . "Robust Permanent Income and Pricing," GSIA Working Papers 1997-51, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  10. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  11. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  12. Gilboa, Itzhak, 1987. "Expected utility with purely subjective non-additive probabilities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 65-88, February.
  13. Wakker, Peter & Tversky, Amos, 1993. " An Axiomatization of Cumulative Prospect Theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 147-75, October.
  14. 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.
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