Why does Implied Risk Aversion Smile?
A few recent papers have derived estimates of the representative agent's risk aversion by comparing the statistical density of asset returns and the state-price density. The implied risk aversion estimates obtained in these studies are puzzling, exhibiting (i) pronounced U-shaped patterns (a "smile") and (ii) negative values. This paper analyzes three potential explanations for these phenomena: (i) heterogeneity in investor preferences, (ii) difficulties in estimating agents' beliefs and (iii) heterogeneous beliefs among agents. Our results show that preferences alone cannot explain the patterns reported in the literature. Misestimation of investors' beliefs caused by nonstationarity of the return process cannot explain the smile either. The patterns of beliefs misestimation required to generate the empirical implied risk aversion estimates found in the literature suggest that heterogeneous beliefs are the most likely cause of the smile.
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- Jackwerth, Jens Carsten, 2000.
"Recovering Risk Aversion from Option Prices and Realized Returns,"
Review of Financial Studies,
Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(2), pages 433-51.
- Jens Carsten Jackwerth., 1996. "Recovering Risk Aversion from Option Prices and Realized Returns," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-265, University of California at Berkeley.
- Jens Carsten Jackwerth, 1998. "Recovering Risk Aversion from Option Prices and Realized Returns," Finance 9803002, EconWPA.
- Pan, Jun, 2002. "The jump-risk premia implicit in options: evidence from an integrated time-series study," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 3-50, January.
- Ait-Sahalia, Yacine & Lo, Andrew W., 2000.
"Nonparametric risk management and implied risk aversion,"
Journal of Econometrics,
Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 9-51.
- Yacine Ait-Sahalia & Andrew W. Lo, 2000. "Nonparametric Risk Management and Implied Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 6130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Benninga, Simon & Mayshar, Joram, 2000. "Heterogeneity and option pricing," Research Report 00E08, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
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