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Substitution and Risk Aversion: Is Risk Aversion Important for Understanding Asset Prices?

  • Benjamin Eden


    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

This paper uses a recursive time-non-separable expected utility function to separate between the intertemporal elasticity of substitution (IES) and a measure of relative risk aversion to bets in terms of money (RAM). Risk premium does not require risk aversion. Changes in IES have large effects on asset prices but changes in risk aversion have only a small effect on asset prices. Assuming IES = 1 and allowing a wide range for the RAM coefficient (say between 0 and 10) is consistent with the cross-countries observation made by Lucas (2003) and the net of taxes and net of frictions rates of return estimated by McGrattan and Prescott (2003).

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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0422.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0422
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  1. Jerusalem D. Levhari & T. N. Srinivasan, 1969. "Optimal Savings under Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 153-163.
  2. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 4328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  4. Beaudry, Paul & van Wincoop, Eric, 1996. "The Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution: An Exploration Using a US Panel of State Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(251), pages 495-512, August.
  5. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  6. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Average Debt and Equity Returns: Puzzling?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 392-397, May.
  7. 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.
  8. Philippe Weil, 1990. "Nonexpected Utility in Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 29-42.
  9. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
  10. Eden, Benjamin, 1977. "The role of insurance and gambling in allocating risk over time," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 228-246, December.
  11. Selden, Larry, 1978. "A New Representation of Preferences over "Certain A Uncertain" Consumption Pairs: The "Ordinal Certainty Equivalent" Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1045-60, September.
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