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Can Small Fluctuations in Investors' Subjective Preferences Induce Large Volatility in Equity Prices?

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  • Rajnish Mehra
  • Raaj Sah

Abstract

This paper focuses on the potential effects of small fluctuations in investors' subjective preferences (specifically, their discount factors and attitudes towards risk) on the volatility of equity prices. We briefly summarize some of the arguments and evidence regarding the fluctuations in subjective preferences. Our analysis indicates that such fluctuations may have significant implications for understanding the volatility of the prices of financial assets. We derive a closed-form expression for equilibrium equity prices, and use this expression to map the fluctuations in investors' subjective preferences to the fluctuations in equity prices. Our analysis suggests that small fluctuations in the discount factor have potentially large effects on the latter. For example, if the standard deviation of the fluctuations in the discount factor is of the order of 1/10th of one percent, then this by itself can induce a 3 to 4% standard deviation in the fluctuations in equity prices. The fluctuations in the attitude towards risk have a smaller, but nevertheless non-negligible effect. We present the intuition underlying our conclusions.

Suggested Citation

  • Rajnish Mehra & Raaj Sah, 1999. "Can Small Fluctuations in Investors' Subjective Preferences Induce Large Volatility in Equity Prices?," Working Papers 9917, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:9917
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    Cited by:

    1. Garcia, Rene & Luger, Richard & Renault, Eric, 2003. "Empirical assessment of an intertemporal option pricing model with latent variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 116(1-2), pages 49-83.
    2. Danthine, Jean-Pierre & Donaldson, John B. & Giannikos, Christos & Guirguis, Hany, 2004. "On the consequences of state dependent preferences for the pricing of financial assets," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 143-153, September.
    3. Steven Rust & Sarah Jennings & Satoshi Yamazaki, 2016. "Excess Capacity and Capital Malleability in a Fishery with Myopic Expectations," Marine Resource Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 63-81.
    4. Qadan, Mahmoud & Kliger, Doron, 2016. "The short trading day anomaly," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(PA), pages 62-80.
    5. Falato, Antonio, 2009. "Happiness maintenance and asset prices," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1247-1262, June.
    6. Mamatzakis, E, 2013. "Does weather affect US bank loan efficiency?," MPRA Paper 51616, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. David Havlíček, 2010. "Analysis of the Impact of Weather on Trading in Equity Markets," Český finanční a účetní časopis, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2010(3), pages 49-62.
    8. Kaplanski, Guy & Levy, Haim, 2010. "Sentiment and stock prices: The case of aviation disasters," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 174-201, February.
    9. Symeonidis, Lazaros & Daskalakis, George & Markellos, Raphael N., 2010. "Does the weather affect stock market volatility?," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 214-223, December.
    10. Ni, Zhong-Xin & Wang, Da-Zhong & Xue, Wen-Jun, 2015. "Investor sentiment and its nonlinear effect on stock returns—New evidence from the Chinese stock market based on panel quantile regression model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 266-274.
    11. repec:eee:riibaf:v:41:y:2017:i:c:p:377-386 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Kraus, Alan & Sagi, Jacob S., 2006. "Asset pricing with unforeseen contingencies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 417-453, November.
    13. Cao, Melanie & Wei, Jason, 2005. "Stock market returns: A note on temperature anomaly," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1559-1573, June.
    14. Higashi, Youichiro & Hyogo, Kazuya & Takeoka, Norio, 2009. "Subjective random discounting and intertemporal choice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1015-1053, May.
    15. David Hirshleife, 2015. "Behavioral Finance," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 133-159, December.
    16. Levy, Tamir & Yagil, Joseph, 2011. "Air pollution and stock returns in the US," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 374-383, June.
    17. Kliger, Doron & Kudryavtsev, Andrey, 2013. "Volatility expectations and the reaction to analyst recommendations," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 1-6.
    18. repec:eee:finana:v:56:y:2018:i:c:p:153-166 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. John Donaldson & Rajnish Mehra, 2007. "Risk Based Explanations of the Equity Premium," NBER Working Papers 13220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Mazouz, Khelifa & Mohamed, Abdulkadir & Saadouni, Brahim, 2016. "Stock return comovement around the Dow Jones Islamic Market World Index revisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(S), pages 50-62.
    21. repec:eee:finmar:v:35:y:2017:i:c:p:84-103 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Andrew Worthington, 2009. "An Empirical Note on Weather Effects in the Australian Stock Market," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 28(2), pages 148-154, June.
    23. McLeish, Kendra N. & Oxoby, Robert J., 2007. "Gender, Affect and Intertemporal Consistency: An Experimental Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 2663, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    24. René Garcia & Richard Luger & Éric Renault, 2001. "Empirical Assessment of an Intertemporal Option Pricing Model with Latent Variables (Note : New version February 2002) / Empirical Assessment of an Intertemporal Option Pricing Model with Latent Varia," CIRANO Working Papers 2001s-02, CIRANO.

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    Keywords

    equity prices; volatility; discount factor; risk;

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