IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/1650.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Parametric Characterizations of Risk Aversion and Prudence

Author

Listed:
  • Lajeri, Fatma
  • Nielsen, Lars Tyge

Abstract

We show that in order to determine whether one decision-maker is more risk averse than another, it is sufficient to consider their attitudes towards a given two-parameter family of risks. When all risks belong to this family, useful comparisons of risk aversion can be made even in situations of ‘background risk’. Since expected utility becomes a function of mean and standard deviation, risk aversion can be measured by the marginal rate of substitution between mean and standard deviation. A utility function exhibits decreasing risk aversion if, and only if, this slope is a decreasing function of the mean. Second, we use the concept of prudence to solve a long-standing problem in mean-variance analysis: what is the economic interpretation of the concavity of a utility function which is a function of mean and variance? We show that in the case of normal distributions, utility is concave as a function of variance and mean if, and only if, it exhibits decreasing prudence.

Suggested Citation

  • Lajeri, Fatma & Nielsen, Lars Tyge, 1997. "Parametric Characterizations of Risk Aversion and Prudence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1650, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1650
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=1650
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Prudence; Risk Aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1650. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.