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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
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  1. 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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  3. Kimball, M. & Weil, P., 1991. "Precautionary Savings and Consumption Smoothing Across Time and Possibilities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1563, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Grant, Simon & Quiggan, John, 2004. "Increasing Uncertainty: A Definition," Working Papers 2002-11, Rice University, Department of Economics.
  5. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
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  7. Jérôme Foncel & Nicolas Treich, 2005. "Fear of Ruin," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 289-300, December.
  8. 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.
  9. Ian Jewitt, 1987. "Risk Aversion and the Choice Between Risky Prospects: The Preservation of Comparative Statics Results," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 73-85.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. BLEICHRODT, Han & EECKHOUDT, Louis, . "Saving under rank-dependent utility," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1752, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  13. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  14. DREZE, Jacques H. & MODIGLIANI, Franco, . "Cosumption decisions under uncertainty," CORE Discussion Papers RP 119, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  16. Kihlstrom, Richard E. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1974. "Risk aversion with many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 361-388, July.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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  20. 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.
  21. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
  22. 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.
  23. Antoine Bommier, 2006. "Uncertain Lifetime And Intertemporal Choice: Risk Aversion As A Rationale For Time Discounting," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1223-1246, November.
  24. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, December.
  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.
  26. Caperaa, Philippe & Eeckhoudt, Louis, 1975. "Delayed risks and risk premiums," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 309-320, September.
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