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Changes in Risk and Asset Prices

  • Harris Schlesinger
  • Christian Gollier

We examine asset prices in a representative-agent model of general equilibrium. Assuming only that individuals are risk averse, we determine conditions on the changes in asset risk that are both necessary and sufficient for the asset price to fall. We show that these conditions neither imply, nor are implied by the conditions for second-degree stochastic dominance. For example, if the payoff on an asset becomes riskier in the sense of second-degree stochastic dominance, the equilibrium price of the asset need not necessarily fall. We further demonstrate how our results can be imbedded into a market that is incomplete in the sense of containing an uninsurable background risk, such as a risk on labor income. We extend our model to show how a miscalibration of the asset risk can lead to a partial explanation of high equity premia (i.e., the "equity premium puzzle").

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 443.

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Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_443
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  1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  2. Meyer, Jack & Ormiston, Michael B, 1985. "Strong Increases in Risk and Their Comparative Statics," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 425-37, June.
  3. Kimball, Miles S, 1993. "Standard Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 589-611, May.
  4. Philippe Jorion & William N. Goetzmann, 1999. "Global Stock Markets in the Twentieth Century," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 953-980, 06.
  5. Doherty, Neil A & Schlesinger, Harris, 1983. "Optimal Insurance in Incomplete Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(6), pages 1045-54, December.
  6. Gollier Christian, 1995. "The Comparative Statics of Changes in Risk Revisited," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 522-535, August.
  7. Harris Schlesinger & Christian Gollier, 2001. "Changes in Risk and Asset Prices," CESifo Working Paper Series 443, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Segal, Uzi & Spivak, Avia, 1990. "First order versus second order risk aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 111-125, June.
  9. Hadar, Josef & Seo, Tae Kun, 1990. "The Effects of Shifts in a Return Distribution on Optimal Portfolios," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(3), pages 721-36, August.
  10. Georges Dionne & Christian Gollier, 1992. "Comparative Statics Under Multiple Sources of Risk with Applications to Insurance Demand," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 17(1), pages 21-33, June.
  11. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1995. "The equity premium: it's still a puzzle," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Hansen, Pierre, 1980. "Minimum and Maximum Prices, Uncertainty, and the Theory of the Competitive Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 1064-68, December.
  13. Dionne, G. & Eeckhoudt, L., 1990. "Increases In Risk And Linear Payoffs," Cahiers de recherche 9019, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  14. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  15. Gollier, Christian & Lindsey, John & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 1997. "Investment Flexibility and the Acceptance of Risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 219-241, October.
  16. Phillippe Weil, 1997. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Risk-Free Rate Puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1833, David K. Levine.
  17. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  18. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1971. "Increasing risk II: Its economic consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 66-84, March.
  19. Weil, Philippe, 1992. "Equilibrium asset prices with undiversifiable labor income risk," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 769-790.
  20. Black, Jane M & Bulkley, I George, 1989. "A Ratio Criterion for Signing the Effects of an Increase in Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(1), pages 119-30, February.
  21. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Romer, David & Williams, Steve, 1981. "Risk Aversion with Random Initial Wealth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 911-20, June.
  22. repec:oup:restud:v:60:y:1993:i:2:p:479-85 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Landsberger, Michael & Meilijson, Isaac, 1990. " A Tale of Two Tails: An Alternative Characterization of Comparative Risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 65-82, March.
  24. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Gollier, Christian, 1995. "Demand for Risky Assets and the Monotone Probability Ratio Order," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 113-22, September.
  25. Gollier, C. & Kimball, M.S., 1996. "New Methods in the Classical Economics of Uncertainty: Comparing Risks," Papers 96.412, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  26. 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.
  27. repec:oup:restud:v:53:y:1986:i:1:p:139-52 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  29. Diamond, Peter A. & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1974. "Increases in risk and in risk aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 337-360, July.
  30. repec:oup:restud:v:42:y:1975:i:4:p:615-21 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Constantinides, George M, 1982. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers and without Demand Aggregation," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 253-67, April.
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