IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Tempering effects of (dependent) background risks: A mean-variance analysis of portfolio selection

  • Eichner, Thomas
  • Wagener, Andreas

In a mean variance framework, we analyse risk taking in the presence of a (possibly) dependent background risk, exemplified in a linear portfolio selection problem. We first characterise the comparative statics of changes in the distribution and dependence structure of the background risk. For unfair, undesirable and loss-aggravating increases in background risks (both dependent and independent), we then present necessary and sufficient restrictions on preferences such that greater background uncertainty leads to reduced risk taking. With mean-variance preferences, these restrictions boil down to simple conditions on the marginal rate of substitution between risk and return. They can be easily related to familiar notions such as risk vulnerability, properness or standardness.

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:
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 Journal of Mathematical Economics.

Volume (Year): 48 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 422-430

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:mateco:v:48:y:2012:i:6:p:422-430
Contact details of provider: Web page:

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. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1994. "Income Risk, Borrowing Constraints and Portfolio Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 888, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Davis, Steven J. & Willen, Paul S., 2013. "Occupation-level income shocks and asset returns: their covariance and implications for portfolio choice," Working Papers 13-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, revised 24 Oct 2013.
  3. Massa, Massimo & Simonov, Andrei, 2004. "Hedging, Familiarity and Portfolio Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 4789, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Thomas Eichner & Andreas Wagener, 2003. "Variance Vulnerability, Background Risks, and Mean-Variance Preferences," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 28(2), pages 173-184, December.
  5. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini & Marco Taboga, 2008. "Portfolio Selection with Monotone Mean-Variance Preferences," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 664, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  6. Lajeri-Chaherli, Fatma, 2003. "Partial derivatives, comparative risk behavior and concavity of utility functions," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 81-99, August.
  7. Meyer, Jack, 1987. "Two-moment Decision Models and Expected Utility Maximization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 421-30, June.
  8. Brito, Ney O, 1977. "Marketability Restrictions and the Valuation of Capital Assets under Uncertainty," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1109-23, September.
  9. Patrick L. Brockett & James R. Garven, 1998. "A Reexamination of the Relationship Between Preferences and Moment Orderings by Rational Risk-Averse Investors," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 23(2), pages 127-137, December.
  10. Mayers, David, 1973. "Nonmarketable Assets and the Determination of Capital Asset Prices in the Absence of a Riskless Asset," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 258-67, April.
  11. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  12. Solnik, Bruno H., 1978. "Inflation and Optimal Portfolio Choices," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(05), pages 903-925, December.
  13. Ormiston, Michael B & Schlee, Edward E, 2001. "Mean-Variance Preferences and Investor Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 849-61, October.
  14. Luisa Tibiletti, 1995. "Beneficial changes in random variables via copulas: An application to insurance," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 20(2), pages 191-202, December.
  15. Kimball, Miles S, 1993. "Standard Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 589-611, May.
  16. Wagener, Andreas, 2002. "Prudence and risk vulnerability in two-moment decision models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 229-235, January.
  17. John Y. Campbell, 1995. "Understanding Risk and Return," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1711, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  18. Fatma Lajeri-Chaherli, 2002. "More on Properness: The Case of Mean-Variance Preferences," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 27(1), pages 49-60, June.
  19. Thomas Eichner, 2008. "Mean Variance Vulnerability," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(3), pages 586-593, March.
  20. Luc Arrondel & Hector Calvo Pardo & Xisco Oliver, 2010. "Temperance in Stock Market Participation: Evidence from France," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(306), pages 314-333, 04.
  21. Bottazzi, Laura & Pesenti, Paolo & van Wincoop, Eric, 1996. "Wages, profits and the international portfolio puzzle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 219-254, February.
  22. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 1998. "Background Uuncertainty and the Demand for Insurance against Insurable Risks," CSEF Working Papers 02, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  23. Borch, Karl, 1969. "A Note on Uncertainty and Indifference Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(105), pages 1-4, January.
  24. Epstein, Larry G, 1985. "Decreasing Risk Aversion and Mean-Variance Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 945-61, July.
  25. Gollier, Christian & Pratt, John W, 1996. "Risk Vulnerability and the Tempering Effect of Background Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1109-23, September.
  26. Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1987. "Proper Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 143-54, January.
  27. Ormiston, Michael B & Quiggin, John, 1993. " Two-Parameter Decision Models and Rank-Dependent Expected Utility," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 273-82, December.
  28. Chamberlain, Gary, 1983. "A characterization of the distributions that imply mean--Variance utility functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 185-201, February.
  29. Peter C. Fishburn & R. Burr Porter, 1976. "Optimal Portfolios with One Safe and One Risky Asset: Effects of Changes in Rate of Return and Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(10), pages 1064-1073, June.
  30. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "Portfolio Selection," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 7(1), pages 77-91, 03.
  31. Ilia Tsetlin & Robert L. Winkler, 2005. "Risky Choices and Correlated Background Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(9), pages 1336-1345, September.
  32. Patrick L. Brockett & Yehuda Kahane, 1992. "Risk, Return, Skewness and Preference," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 38(6), pages 851-866, June.
  33. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 2000. "Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Background Risk," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 1-26, January.
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:mateco:v:48:y:2012:i:6:p:422-430. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

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.