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Risk Aversion and Wealth: Evidence from Person-to-Person Lending Portfolios

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  • Daniel Paravisini
  • Veronica Rappoport
  • Enrichetta Ravina

Abstract

We estimate risk aversion from the actual financial decisions of 2,168 investors in Lending Club (LC), a person-to-person lending platform. We develop a methodology that allows us to estimate risk aversion parameters from each portfolio choice. Since the same individual makes repeated investments, we are able to construct a panel of risk aversion parameters that we use to disentangle heterogeneity in attitudes towards risk from the elasticity of investor-specific risk aversion to changes in wealth. In the cross section, we find that wealthier investors are more risk averse. Using changes in house prices as a source of variation, we find that investors become more risk averse after a negative wealth shock. These preferences consistently extrapolate to other investor decisions within LC.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Paravisini & Veronica Rappoport & Enrichetta Ravina, 2010. "Risk Aversion and Wealth: Evidence from Person-to-Person Lending Portfolios," NBER Working Papers 16063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16063
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tran, Ngoc-Khanh & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 2011. "The Behavior of Savings and Asset Prices When Preferences and Beliefs Are Heterogeneous," Working Paper Series rwp11-026, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Patrick Bolton & Christopher Harris, 2005. "The Dynamics of Optimal Risk Sharing," Economics Working Papers 0092, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science, revised May 2010.
    3. Moritz Kuhn & Sebastian Koehne, 2013. "Optimal capital taxation for time-nonseparable preferences," 2013 Meeting Papers 322, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Emi Nakamura & Dmitriy Sergeyev & Jón Steinsson, 2017. "Growth-Rate and Uncertainty Shocks in Consumption: Cross-Country Evidence," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 1-39, January.
    5. Chabakauri, Georgy & Yuan, Kathy & Zachariadis, Konstantinos, 2014. "Multi-asset noisy rational expectations equilibrium with contingent claims," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60736, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Michael Ewens & Bryan Tomlin & Liang Choon Wang, 2014. "Statistical Discrimination or Prejudice? A Large Sample Field Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 119-134, March.
    7. Freedman, Seth & Jin, Ginger Zhe, 2017. "The information value of online social networks: Lessons from peer-to-peer lending," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 185-222.
    8. Adam Eric Greenberg, 2013. "When imagining future wealth influences risky decision making," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(3), pages 268-277, May.
    9. Zhang, Bei & Chu, Rong-Wei & Nie, Jun, 2014. "Wealth distribution with state-dependent risk aversion," Research Working Paper RWP 13-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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