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Risk Aversion and Planning Horizon

  • Bommier, Antoine
  • Rochet, Jean-Charles

A number of empirical studies seem to reject the additive separability of preferences that is assumed in most theoretical models of the life cycle. We show that, when additive separability is abandoned and interactions between consumptions at different dates are taken into account, an interesting relation emerges between risk aversion and length of the planning horizon.Specifically, we show that when consumptions at different dates are specific substitutes, risk aversion increases with horizon length. This may explain the surprising empirical finding that individuals seem to increase the share of wealth held in risky assets as they become older. (JEL: D11, D91, G11) Copyright (c) 2006 by the European Economic Association.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 204.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision: Nov 2004
Publication status: Published in Journal of the European Economic Association, vol.�4, n°4, juin 2006, p.�708-734.
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:3411
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  1. Roger E.A. Farmer, 1989. "Rince Preferences," UCLA Economics Working Papers 547, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Browning, Martin, 1991. "A Simple Nonadditive Preference Structure for Models of Household Behavior over Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 607-37, June.
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  4. John MUELLBAUER, 1988. "Habits, Rationality and Myopia in the Life Cycle Consumption Function," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 9, pages 47-70.
  5. Kihlstrom, Richard E. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1974. "Risk aversion with many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 361-388, July.
  6. 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.
  7. Fumio Hayashi, 1982. "The Effect of Liquidity Constraints on Consumption: A Cross-Sectional Analysis," NBER Working Papers 0882, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-57, August.
  9. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  13. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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  15. Ryder, Harl E, Jr & Heal, Geoffrey M, 1973. "Optimum Growth with Intertemporally Dependent Preferences," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 1-33, January.
  16. Scott F. Richard, 1975. "Multivariate Risk Aversion, Utility Independence and Separable Utility Functions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(1), pages 12-21, September.
  17. Raquel Carrasco & José M. Labeaga & J. David López-Salido, 2005. "Consumption and Habits: Evidence from Panel Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 144-165, 01.
  18. Campbell, John Y, 1993. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing without Consumption Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 487-512, June.
  19. Karni, Edi, 1983. "On the correspondence between multivariate risk aversion and risk aversion with state-dependent preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 230-242, August.
  20. Samuelson, Paul A, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 239-46, August.
  21. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
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  23. Karni, Edi, 1979. "On Multivariate Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(6), pages 1391-1401, November.
  24. Hanoch, Giora, 1977. "Risk Aversion and Consumer Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(2), pages 413-26, March.
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