IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Disentangling risk aversion and intertemporal substitution through a reference level

Listed author(s):
  • Garcia, Rene
  • Renault, Eric
  • Semenov, Andrei

In the standard consumption capital asset pricing model (CCAPM), the curvature of the investor's utility function captures two aspects of preferences: as the concavity of the function increases so does his aversion to risk as well as his desire to smooth consumption intertemporally. This restriction is not theoretically justified nor empirically supported. To disentangle the two concepts, Epstein and Zin (1989) and Weil (1989) have proposed a recursive utility framework. However, the ensuing risk aversion measure (1-α) should not be considered as a simple Arrow-Pratt index of relative risk aversion that could be interpreted independently of the level of the elasticity σ. The lack of disentangling comes from the fact that the recursive utility model introduces risk aversion through the definition of a certainty equivalent of future utility that mixes attitudes towards risk and intertemporal substitution. We show that the higher σ is (while remaining smaller than one to be realistic), the more (1-α) underestimates the genuine level of risk aversion since a higher σ facilitates intertemporal diversification and thus substantially lowers the level of risk that is significantly borne. We suggest that the requested disentangling may alternatively be obtained by introducing an exogenous reference level which, in a recursive way, assesses the expected future consumption. Therefore, risk aversion is now defined with respect to the unpredictable discrepancy between actual consumption and this reference level (a quantity independent of the attitude towards risk). In this new framework, preferences are represented by a generalized von Neumann-Morgenstern utility specification whereby satisfaction is derived from consumption relative to an external reference level as well as from this reference level itself. Dans le modèle standard d'évaluation des actifs financiers fondé sur la consommation (CCAPM), la courbure de la fonction d'utilité de l'investisseur associe deux aspects des

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1544-6123(06)00023-7
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Finance Research Letters.

Volume (Year): 3 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 181-193

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:finlet:v:3:y:2006:i:3:p:181-193
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/frl

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. John Y. Campbell, 1992. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Without Consumption Data," NBER Working Papers 3989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
  3. Smith, William T, 2001. "How Does the Spirit of Capitalism Affect Stock Market Prices?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(4), pages 1215-1232.
  4. repec:fth:harver:1421 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Gurdip S. Bakshi & Zhiwu Chen, 1996. "The Spirit of Capitalism and Stock-Market Prices," CEMA Working Papers 511, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  6. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2004. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0407001, EconWPA.
  7. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1995. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Martin S. Eichenbaum & Lars Peter Hansen & Kenneth J. Singleton, 1986. "A Time Series Analysis of Representative Agent Models of Consumption andLeisure Choice Under Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 1981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, 2001. "Prospect Theory and Asset Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 1-53.
  10. G. Constantinides, 1990. "Habit formation: a resolution of the equity premium puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1397, David K. Levine.
  11. Christopher D. Carroll & Jody Overland & David N. Weil, 1995. "Saving and growth with habit formation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Philippe Weil, 1989. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Riskfree Rate Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 2829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Duffie, Darrell & Epstein, Larry G, 1992. "Stochastic Differential Utility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 353-394, March.
  14. Aschauer, David Alan, 1985. "Fiscal Policy and Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 117-127, March.
  15. Martin Lettau & Sydney Ludvigson, 1999. "Resurrecting the (C)CAPM: a cross-sectional test when risk premia are time-varying," Staff Reports 93, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  16. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-969, July.
  17. Kreps, David M. & Porteus, Evan L., 1979. "Temporal von neumann-morgenstern and induced preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 81-109, February.
  18. A. Abel, 2010. "Asset prices under habit formation and catching up with the Jones," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1395, David K. Levine.
  19. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-286, April.
  20. Duffie, Darrell & Epstein, Larry G, 1992. "Asset Pricing with Stochastic Differential Utility," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 411-436.
  21. Campbell, John Y. & Viceira, Luis M., 2002. "Strategic Asset Allocation: Portfolio Choice for Long-Term Investors," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296942.
  22. Duffie, Darrel & Lions, Pierre-Louis, 1992. "PDE solutions of stochastic differential utility," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 577-606.
  23. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1984. "Optimal growth with many consumers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 139-171, February.
  24. Alberto Giovannini & Philippe Weil, 1989. "Risk Aversion and Intertemporal Substitution in the Capital Asset Pricing Model," NBER Working Papers 2824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1983. "Stochastic Consumption, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Asset Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 249-265, April.
  26. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  27. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2000. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Alvarez, F. & Jermann, U.J., 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Weiss Center Working Papers 00-1, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  29. Sundaresan, Suresh M, 1989. "Intertemporally Dependent Preferences and the Volatility of Consumption and Wealth," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 2(1), pages 73-89.
  30. Philippe Weil, 1990. "Nonexpected Utility in Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 29-42.
  31. Startz, Richard, 1989. "The Stochastic Behavior of Durable and Nondurable Consumption," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 356-363, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:finlet:v:3:y:2006:i:3:p:181-193. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.