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Relationship between risk attitude and economic recovery in optimal growth theory

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  • Herbst, Anthony F.
  • Wu, Joseph S.K.
  • Ho, Chi Pui

Abstract

Policy makers often resort to Keynesian fiscal stimulus to try to stabilize the economy after a major economic downturn. This is nearly always financed with deficit spending and thus debt (under the rubric of quantitative easing11Some note that “quantitative easing” is a modern euphemism formerly called “monetizing the debt.”) which invariably leads to huge budget deficit problems that tend to weaken investor and consumer confidence. Many economists agree it is better to let the economy grow out of the downturn than to finance further deficit spending through increased taxation or by printing money. Economic growth increases employment and generates government revenues to help balance the budget. But policies promoting economic growth often neglect the attitudes of consumers and investors towards risks. Risk-attitude is especially relevant if the shock originates from the financial sector, causing uncertainty and distrust. This paper examines the effect of risk aversion on growth recovery after an economic shock. We find that within the framework of optimal growth theory, risk-attitude determines the strength of the recovery path. We also find that risk-attitude can undermine the effectiveness of low interest rate policies. This highlights the importance of having policies geared towards restoring a stable risk-attitude in the economy. We feel results can best be achieved by resorting more to market mechanisms and less to government intervention. Market transparency and market discipline should be promoted to add certainty and trust so that people can properly form their risk-attitude.

Suggested Citation

  • Herbst, Anthony F. & Wu, Joseph S.K. & Ho, Chi Pui, 2012. "Relationship between risk attitude and economic recovery in optimal growth theory," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 141-150.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:glofin:v:23:y:2012:i:3:p:141-150
    DOI: 10.1016/j.gfj.2012.10.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Feicht, Robert & Stummer, Wolfgang, 2010. "Complete closed-form solution to a stochastic growth model and corresponding speed of economic recovery," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 05/2010, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    2. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-1370, November.
    3. Saltari, Enrico & Ticchi, Davide, 2007. "Risk aversion, intertemporal substitution, and the aggregate investment-uncertainty relationship," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 622-648, April.
    4. Brock, William A. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1972. "Optimal economic growth and uncertainty: The discounted case," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 479-513, June.
    5. Mitra, Tapan & Roy, Santanu, 2012. "Sustained positive consumption in a model of stochastic growth: The role of risk aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 850-880.
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    7. Verbrugge, Randal, 2000. "Risk aversion, learning spillovers, and path-dependent economic growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 197-202, August.
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    1. repec:wly:mgtdec:v:38:y:2017:i:2:p:238-251 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Risk-attitude; Optimal growth theory; Economic recovery;

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics

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