Optimal Beliefs, Asset Prices, and the Preference for Skewed Returns
Human beings want to believe that good outcomes in the future are more likely, but also want to make good decisions that increase average outcomes in the future. We consider a general equilibrium model with complete markets and show that when investors hold beliefs that optimally balance these two incentives, portfolio holdings and asset prices match six observed patterns: (i) because the cost of biased beliefs are typically second-order, investors typically hold biased assessments of probabilities and so are not perfectly diversified according to objective metrics; (ii) because the costs of biased beliefs temper these biases, the utility costs of the lack of diversification are limited; (iii) because there is a complementarity between believing a state more likely and purchasing more of the asset that pays off in that state, investors over-invest in only one Arrow-Debreu security and smooth their consumption well across the remaining states; (iv) because different households can settle on different states to be optimistic about, optimal portfolios of ex ante identical investors can be heterogeneous; (v) because low-price and low-probability states are the cheapest states to buy consumption in, overoptimism about these states distorts consumption the least in the rest of the states, so that investors tend to overinvest in the most skewed securities; (vi) finally, because investors with optimal expectations have higher demand for more skewed assets, ceteris paribus, more skewed asset can have lower average returns.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Markus K. Brunnermeier & Christian Gollier & Jonathan A. Parker, 2007. "Optimal Beliefs, Asset Prices, and the Preference for Skewed Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 159-165, May.|
|Note:||AP EFG ME|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jonathan A. Parker & Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2004.
Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings
426, Econometric Society.
- Markus K. Brunnermeier & Jonathan A. Parker, 2004. "Optimal Expectations," NBER Working Papers 10707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Markus K. Brunnermeier & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Optimal Expectations," Working Papers 146, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics.
- Jonathan Parker & Markus K Brunnermeier, 2002. "Optimal Expectations," FMG Discussion Papers dp434, Financial Markets Group.
- Brunnermeier, Markus K & Parker, Jonathan A, 2004. "Optimal Expectation," CEPR Discussion Papers 4656, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Markus K. Brunnermeier & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Optimal expectations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24954, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Christian Gollier, 2005.
"Optimal Illusions and Decisions under Risk,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
1382, CESifo Group Munich.
- Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2004.
"The Social Discount Rate,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1257-1268, December.
- Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2000. "The Social Discount Rate," NBER Working Papers 7983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001. "The social discount rate," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 137, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Attanasio, Orazio & Davis, Steven J, 1996.
"Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1227-62, December.
- Orazio Attanasio & Steven J. Davis, 1994. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12940. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.