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Comparative Risk Aversion: A Formal Approach with Applications to Savings Behaviors

  • Antoine Bommier


    (GREMAQ - Groupe de recherche en économie mathématique et quantitative - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales)

  • Arnold Chassagnon

    (LEDA-SDFi - LEDA-SDFi - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine)

  • François Legrand

    (EMLYON RECHERCHE - EMLYON Business School)

We consider a formal approach to comparative risk aversion and applies it to intertemporal choice models. This allows us to ask whether standard classes of utility functions, such as those inspired by Kihlstrom and Mirman (1974), Selden (1978), Epstein and Zin (1989) and Quiggin (1982) are well-ordered in terms of risk aversion. Moreover, opting for this model-free approach allows us to establish new general results on the impact of risk aversion on savings behaviors. In particular, we show that risk aversion enhances precautionary savings, clarifying the link that exists between the notions of prudence and risk aversion.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number hal-00451281.

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Date of creation: 28 Jan 2010
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00451281
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  1. Miles Kimball & Philippe Weil, 2003. "Precautionary Saving and Consumption Smoothing Across Time and Possibilities," Working Papers hal-01065066, HAL.
  2. Chateauneuf, Alain & Cohen, Michele & Meilijson, Isaac, 2004. "Four notions of mean-preserving increase in risk, risk attitudes and applications to the rank-dependent expected utility model," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 547-571, August.
  3. Grant, Simon & Quiggin, John, 2005. "Increasing uncertainty: a definition," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 117-141, March.
  4. Antoine Bommier, 2001. "Uncertain lifetime and intertemporal choice : risk aversion as a rationale for time discounting," Research Unit Working Papers 0108, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  5. Jérôme Foncel & Nicolas Treich, 2005. "Fear of Ruin," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 289-300, December.
  6. David P. Myatt & Justin P. Johnson, 2004. "On the Simple Economics of Advertising, Marketing, and Product Design," Economics Series Working Papers 185, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. DREZE, Jacques H. & MODIGLIANI, Franco, . "Cosumption decisions under uncertainty," CORE Discussion Papers RP 119, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
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  11. Yaari, Menahem E., 1969. "Some remarks on measures of risk aversion and on their uses," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 315-329, October.
  12. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  13. BLEICHRODT, Han & EECKHOUDT, Louis, . "Saving under rank-dependent utility," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1752, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  14. Chew, Soo Hong & Epstein, Larry G., 1990. "Nonexpected utility preferences in a temporal framework with an application to consumption-savings behaviour," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 54-81, February.
  15. Selden, Larry, 1978. "A New Representation of Preferences over "Certain A Uncertain" Consumption Pairs: The "Ordinal Certainty Equivalent" Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1045-60, September.
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  17. Caperaa, Philippe & Eeckhoudt, Louis, 1975. "Delayed risks and risk premiums," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 309-320, September.
  18. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  19. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
  20. Segal, Uzi & Spivak, Avia & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Precautionary saving and risk aversion : An anticipated utility approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 223-227.
  21. Langlais, Eric, 1995. "A measure of the sensitivity of saving to interest rate uncertainty with non-expected preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 325-330, June.
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  23. A. Sandmo, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 353-360.
  24. Kihlstrom, Richard E. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1974. "Risk aversion with many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 361-388, July.
  25. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, July.
  26. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
  27. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
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