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Does Relative Risk Aversion Vary with Wealth? Evidence from Households' Portfolio Choice Data

In this article, we explore whether relative risk aversion varies with wealth. First, we derive theoretical predictions on how risky shares respond to wealth uctuations in a portfolio choice model with both external habits and time-varying labor income. Our analytical results indicate that: (1) for each household, there are two channels through which the risky share responds to wealth uctuations, the habit channel and the income channel; (2) across households, there are heterogeneous responses through the habit channel: those who experience large negative income shocks reduce their share of risky assets; and (3) two potential mis-identi cation problems arise when both the heterogeneity in responses through the habit channel and the income channel are ignored. We then test the theoretical predictions with data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Contrary to the existing literature, our empirical ndings show evidences of relative risk aversion varying with wealth over time after correcting those two mis-identi cation problems.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Louisiana State University in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2013-09.

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Handle: RePEc:lsu:lsuwpp:2013-09
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  1. Pierre‐André Chiappori & Monica Paiella, 2011. "Relative Risk Aversion Is Constant: Evidence From Panel Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(6), pages 1021-1052, December.
  2. Michele Boldrin & Lawrence J. Christiano & Jonas D.M. Fisher, 1999. "Habit persistence, asset returns and the business cycles," Working Paper Series WP-99-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2008. "Fight or Flight? Portfolio Rebalancing by Individual Investors," NBER Working Papers 14177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Raquel Carrasco & José M. Labeaga & J. David López-Salido, 2002. "Consumption And Habits: Evidence From Panel Data," Economics Working Papers we023415, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  6. Morten Ravn & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2004. "Deep Habits," NBER Working Papers 10261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Motohiro Yogo & Jessica Wachter, 2007. "Why do Household Portfolio Shares Rise in Wealth?," 2007 Meeting Papers 929, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Giuseppe Cappelletti, 2012. "Do wealth fluctuations generate time-varying risk aversion? Italian micro-evidence on household asset allocation," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 845, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  9. Jonathan Meer & Douglas L. Miller & Harvey S. Rosen, 2003. "Exploring the Health-Wealth Nexus," NBER Working Papers 9554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
  11. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  12. G. Constantinides, 1990. "Habit formation: a resolution of the equity premium puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1397, David K. Levine.
  13. 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.
  14. Karen E. Dynan, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumer Preferences: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 391-406, June.
  15. Uribe, Martin, 2002. "The price-consumption puzzle of currency pegs," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 533-569, April.
  16. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
  17. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2009. "Fight Or Flight? Portfolio Rebalancing by Individual Investors-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 301-348, February.
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