Estimating Consumption Plans for Recursive Utility by Maximum Entropy Methods
We derive and estimate the optimal disbursement from an infinitely-lived charitable trust with an Epstein-Zin-Weil utility function, given general Markovian returns to wealth. We analyze two special cases: where spending is a power function of last period's wealth and the endowment uses 'payout smoothing'. Via nonlinear least squares, we estimate the optimal spending rate and the elasticity of intertemporal substitution for a trust with a typical diversified portfolio and for a portfolio of hedge funds. Finally, we use maximum entropy methods to characterize the returns distribution of a trust whose spending plan conforms with the optimality condition.
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