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Comparative risk aversion: A formal approach with applications to saving behavior

  • Bommier, Antoine
  • Chassagnon, Arnold
  • Le Grand, François

We consider a formal approach to comparative risk aversion and apply it to intertemporal choice models. This allows us to ask whether standard classes of utility functions, such as those inspired by Kihlstrom and Mirman (1974) [16], Selden (1978) [27], Epstein and Zin (1989) [10] and Quiggin (1982) [25] are well ordered in terms of risk aversion. Moreover, opting for this model-free approach allows us to establish new general results on the impact of risk aversion on savings behaviors. In particular, we show that risk aversion enhances precautionary savings, clarifying the link that exists between the notions of prudence and risk aversion.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 147 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1614-1641

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:147:y:2012:i:4:p:1614-1641
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972. "Consumption decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
  2. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  3. Kihlstrom, Richard E. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1974. "Risk aversion with many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 361-388, July.
  4. Selden, Larry, 1978. "A New Representation of Preferences over "Certain A Uncertain" Consumption Pairs: The "Ordinal Certainty Equivalent" Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1045-60, September.
  5. Sandmo, Agnar, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 353-60, July.
  6. Kimball, Miles S & Weil, Philippe, 2003. "Precautionary Saving and Consumption Smoothing Across Time and Possibilities," CEPR Discussion Papers 4005, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Yaari, Menahem E., 1969. "Some remarks on measures of risk aversion and on their uses," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 315-329, October.
  8. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
  9. Langlais, Eric, 1995. "A measure of the sensitivity of saving to interest rate uncertainty with non-expected preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 325-330, June.
  10. Jérôme Foncel & Nicolas Treich, 2005. "Fear of Ruin," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 289-300, December.
  11. Justin P. Johnson & David P. Myatt, 2006. "On the Simple Economics of Advertising, Marketing, and Product Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 756-784, June.
  12. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
  13. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Antoine Bommier, 2001. "Uncertain lifetime and intertemporal choice : risk aversion as a rationale for time discounting," Research Unit Working Papers 0108, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  15. Simon Grant & John Quiggin, 2004. "Increasing Uncertainty: A Definition," Risk & Uncertainty Working Papers WPR04_4, Risk and Sustainable Management Group, University of Queensland.
  16. Chew, Soo Hong & Epstein, Larry G., 1990. "Nonexpected utility preferences in a temporal framework with an application to consumption-savings behaviour," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 54-81, February.
  17. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, March.
  18. Han Bleichrodt & Louis Eeckhoudt, 2005. "Saving under rank-dependent utility," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 505-511, 02.
  19. Jewitt, Ian, 1987. "Risk Aversion and the Choice between Risky Prospects: The Preservation of Comparative Statics Results," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 73-85, January.
  20. 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 937-69, July.
  21. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00212281 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Alain Chateauneuf & Michèle Cohen & Isaac Meilijson, 2004. "Four notions of mean preserving increase in risk, risk attitudes and applications to the Rank-Dependent Expected Utility model," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00212281, HAL.
  23. Caperaa, Philippe & Eeckhoudt, Louis, 1975. "Delayed risks and risk premiums," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 309-320, September.
  24. David M Kreps & Evan L Porteus, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000009, David K. Levine.
  25. Segal, Uzi & Spivak, Avia & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Precautionary saving and risk aversion : An anticipated utility approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 223-227.
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