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Substitution, Risk Aversion and Asset Prices: An Expected Utility Approach

  • Benjamin Eden

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

The standard power utility function is widely used to explain asset prices. It assumes that the coefficient of relative risk aversion is the inverse of the elasticity of substitution. Here I use the Kihlstrom and Mirman (1974) expected utility approach to relax this assumption. I use time consistent preferences that lead to time consistent plans. In our examples, the past does not matter much for current portfolio decisions. The risk aversion parameter can be inferred from experiments and introspections about bets in terms of permanent consumption (wealth). Evidence about the change in the attitude towards bets over the life cycle may also restrict the value of the risk aversion parameter. Monotonic transformations of the standard power utility function do not change the predictions about asset prices by much. Both the elasticity of substitution and risk aversion play a role in determining the equity premium.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu08-w03.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0803.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0803
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  1. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
  2. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  3. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  4. Kihlstrom, Richard E. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1974. "Risk aversion with many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 361-388, July.
  5. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  6. 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.
  7. G. Constantinides, 1990. "Habit formation: a resolution of the equity premium puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1397, David K. Levine.
  8. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
  9. 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.
  10. Peleg, Bezalel & Yaari, Menahem E, 1973. "On the Existence of a Consistent Course of Action when Tastes are Changing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 391-401, July.
  11. David M Kreps & Evan L Porteus, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000009, David K. Levine.
  12. Eden, Benjamin, 1979. "An Expected Utility Function for the Insurance Buying Gambler," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 741-42, October.
  13. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1481-1509, 08.
  14. 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.
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