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Rare Disasters and Risk Sharing with Heterogeneous Beliefs

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  • Hui Chen
  • Scott Joslin
  • Ngoc-Khanh Tran

Abstract

Risks of rare economic disasters can have a large impact on asset prices. At the same time, difficulties in inference regarding both the likelihood and severity of disasters, as well as agency problems, can lead to significant disagreements among investors about disaster risk. We show that such disagreements generate strong risk-sharing motives, such that just a small number of optimists in the economy will significantly reduce the disaster risk premium. Our model highlights the "latent" nature of disaster risk. The disaster risk premium will likely be low and smooth during normal times but increases dramatically when the risk-sharing capacity of the optimists is reduced, e.g., following a disaster. The model also helps reconcile the difference in the amount of disaster risk implied by financial markets and international macroeconomic data, and provides caution to the approach of extracting disaster probabilities from asset prices, which will disproportionately reflect the beliefs of a small group of optimists. Finally, our model predicts an inverse U-shaped relation between the equity premium and the size of the disaster insurance market. The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Hui Chen & Scott Joslin & Ngoc-Khanh Tran, 2012. "Rare Disasters and Risk Sharing with Heterogeneous Beliefs," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(7), pages 2189-2224.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:25:y:2012:i:7:p:2189-2224
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhs064
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Backus & Mikhail Chernov & Ian Martin, 2011. "Disasters Implied by Equity Index Options," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 1969-2012, December.
    2. Leonid Kogan & Stephen A. Ross & Jiang Wang & Mark M. Westerfield, 2006. "The Price Impact and Survival of Irrational Traders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(1), pages 195-229, February.
    3. Bernard Dumas & Alexander Kurshev & Raman Uppal, 2009. "Equilibrium Portfolio Strategies in the Presence of Sentiment Risk and Excess Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(2), pages 579-629, April.
    4. Jun Liu, 2005. "An Equilibrium Model of Rare-Event Premia and Its Implication for Option Smirks," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 131-164.
    5. Ian W. R. Martin, 2008. "Disasters and the Welfare Cost of Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 74-78, May.
    6. Jiang, Wang, 1996. "The term structure of interest rates in a pure exchange economy with heterogeneous investors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 75-110, May.
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    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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