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From boom til bust: how loss aversion affects asset prices

  • Berkelaar, A.B.
  • Kouwenberg, R.R.P.

In 1996 Alan Greenspan warned that stock prices were "unduly escalated" and reflected "irrational exuberance". In this paper we describe an economy that can support a prolonged surge of asset prices, accompanied by a sharp increase of volatility. We study an equilibrium model where some agents are risk averse while others have loss averse preferences over wealth, according to prospect theory. We derive closed-form solutions for the equilibrium prices. In good states of the world, the loss averse investors with wealth above the threshold are momentum traders, thereby pushing prices far above the level in the benchmark economy. In moderately bad states of the world, the loss averse investors are contrarian, and equilibrium prices are kept relatively high and stable. Finally in extremely bad states, the loss averse investors are forced to retreat from the stock market in order to avoid bankruptcy, resulting in a sharp price drop.

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Paper provided by Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute in its series Econometric Institute Research Papers with number EI 2000-21/A.

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Date of creation: 24 May 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ems:eureir:1654
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  1. Arjan B. Berkelaar & Roy Kouwenberg & Thierry Post, 2004. "Optimal Portfolio Choice under Loss Aversion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 973-987, November.
  2. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1994. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," CRSP working papers 412, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  3. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  4. Engle, Robert F & Ng, Victor K, 1993. " Measuring and Testing the Impact of News on Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1749-78, December.
  5. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, . "Prospect Theory and Asset Prices," CRSP working papers 494, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  6. Uzi Segal & Avia Spivak, 1988. "First Order Versus Second Order Risk Aversion," UCLA Economics Working Papers 540, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. L. Epstein & S. Zin, 2010. "First order risk aversion and the equity premium puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1400, David K. Levine.
  8. G. Constantinides, 1990. "Habit formation: a resolution of the equity premium puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1397, David K. Levine.
  9. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  10. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1993. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 4369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Døskeland, Trond M. & Nordahl, Helge A., 2008. "Optimal pension insurance design," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 382-392, March.
  12. Gneezy, Uri & Potters, Jan, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-45, May.
  13. Francisco J. Gomes, 2005. "Portfolio Choice and Trading Volume with Loss-Averse Investors," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 675-706, March.
  14. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
  15. Kouwenberg, Roy & Ziemba, William T., 2007. "Incentives and risk taking in hedge funds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(11), pages 3291-3310, November.
  16. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  17. Grant McQueen, 2004. "Whence GARCH? A Preference-Based Explanation for Conditional Volatility," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 17(4), pages 915-949.
  18. Normandin, Michel & St-Amour, Pascal, 2008. "An empirical analysis of aggregate household portfolios," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1583-1597, August.
  19. Basak, Suleyman, 1995. "A General Equilibrium Model of Portfolio Insurance," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 8(4), pages 1059-90.
  20. Rubinstein, Mark, 1974. "An aggregation theorem for securities markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 225-244, September.
  21. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73908 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  23. Thaler, Richard H, et al, 1997. "The Effect of Myopia and Loss Aversion on Risk Taking: An Experimental Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 647-61, May.
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