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Loss aversion and the term structure of interest rates

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  • Mao-Wei Hung
  • Jr-Yan Wang

Abstract

This article studies how the loss averse behaviour affects the term structure of real interest rates. Since the pro-cyclical conditional expected marginal rate of substitution, implied from the US consumption data, is consistent with the proposition of loss aversion, we incorporate the loss averse behaviour of prospect theory into the consumption-based asset pricing model. Motivated by the similarity between habit formation and the prospect theory utility, habit formation is exploited to determine endogenously the reference point of this behavioural finance utility. The highly curved characteristic of the term structure of real interest rates can thus be captured by the additional consideration of loss aversion. This model also fits the downward sloping volatility of the real yield curve in the data of US Treasury Inflation-Protection Securities (TIPS). Moreover, depending on the effective risk attitude of the representative agent with the loss averse behaviour of prospect theory, our model is capable of generating a normal or an inverted yield curve.

Suggested Citation

  • Mao-Wei Hung & Jr-Yan Wang, 2011. "Loss aversion and the term structure of interest rates," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(29), pages 4623-4640.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:43:y:2011:i:29:p:4623-4640
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2010.493139
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    2. Kathryn Graddy & Lara Loewenstein & Jianping Mei & Mike Moses & Rachel A J Pownall, 2014. "Anchoring or Loss Aversion? Empirical Evidence from Art Auctions," ACEI Working Paper Series AWP-04-2014, Association for Cultural Economics International, revised Jun 2014.

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