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An Economic Index of Riskiness

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  • Robert J. Aumann
  • Roberto Serrano

Abstract

Define the riskiness of a gamble as the reciprocal of the absolute risk aversion (ARA) of an individual with constant ARA who is indifferent between taking and not taking that gamble. We characterize this index by axioms, chief among them a "duality" axiom that, roughly speaking, asserts that less risk-averse individuals accept riskier gambles. The index is positively homogeneous, continuous, and subadditive; respects first- and second-order stochastic dominance; and for normally distributed gambles is half of variance/mean. Examples are calculated, additional properties are derived, and the index is compared with others. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Aumann & Roberto Serrano, 2008. "An Economic Index of Riskiness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(5), pages 810-836, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:116:y:2008:i:5:p:810-836
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fishburn, Peter C, 1977. "Mean-Risk Analysis with Risk Associated with Below-Target Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 116-126, March.
    2. Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio & Serrano, Roberto, 2006. "Rejecting small gambles under expected utility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 250-259, May.
    3. G. Hanoch & H. Levy, 1969. "The Efficiency Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 335-346.
    4. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    5. Hadar, Josef & Russell, William R, 1969. "Rules for Ordering Uncertain Prospects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 25-34, March.
    6. Aumann, Robert J & Kurz, Mordecai, 1977. "Power and Taxes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(5), pages 1137-1161, July.
    7. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
    8. Peter C. Fishburn, 1984. "Foundations of Risk Measurement. I. Risk As Probable Loss," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(4), pages 396-406, April.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C00 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - General
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G00 - Financial Economics - - General - - - General

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