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Recursive Utility, Precautionary Saving and the Demand for Insurance


  • GOLLIER, Christian
  • Eric RENAULT
  • Jean-Charles ROCHET


We consider in this paper the interaction between precautionary savings and insurance demand. Under the standard intertemporal expected utility framework, the effect of an increase in the concavity of the utility function is ambiguous because of the inability of this framework to distinguish between the resistance to intertemporal substitution and risk aversion. Using Kreps-Porteus preferences, we show that an increase in the resistance to intertemporal substitution has an unambiguous effect on saving. If risk aversion is decreasing, it also yields an unambiguous effect on insurance demand. We also compare the two types of preference ordering in term of the optimal saving and insurance strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • GOLLIER, Christian & Eric RENAULT & Jean-Charles ROCHET, 1994. "Recursive Utility, Precautionary Saving and the Demand for Insurance," Working Papers 019, Risk and Insurance Archive.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:riskar:019

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
    3. Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1987. "Proper Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 143-154, January.
    4. Pratt, John W, 1988. "Aversion to One Risk in the Presence of Others," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 395-413, December.
    5. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Gollier, Christian & Schlesinger, Harris, 1996. "Changes in Background Risk and Risk-Taking Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 683-689, May.
    6. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972. "Consumption decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
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