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Non-expected Utility, Saving, and Portfolios

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  • Michael Haliassos

    (The University of Cyprus)

  • Christis Hassapis

    (The University of Cyprus)

Abstract

Existing findings suggest that standard, frictionless, expected-utility models have difficulty accounting for average and for median holdings of wealth and of risky assets, partly as a result of the largely unexplained limited proportion of stockholders among households. We analyze life-cycle wealth accumulation and portfolio choice under career uncertainty and quantifiable departures from expected utility maximization. Our specification nests expected utility and three types of non-expected utility: (i) Kreps-Porteus preferences that disentangle risk aversion from elasticity of substitution, (ii) Yaari's Dual Theory of Choice, and (iii) Quiggin's Rank-dependent Utility. Specifications (ii) and (iii) exhibit "first-order" risk aversion and kinked indifference curves. Solution of such models under multiple sources of risk presents conceptual and computational difficulties. We introduce a notion of equilibrium and a computational algorithm appropriate for such setups. Computed wealth and stockholding, based on calibrated income processes for three education categories, are compared to the 1992 Survey of Consumer Finances. Rank-dependent utility enhances the importance of precautionary effects. Contrary to priors in the literature, solutions are not typically at kinks; neither kinks nor actual solutions involve zero stockholding when income risk is recognized; and yet predictions about average wealth and risky assets tend to improve for all education categories. Mere disentangling of risk aversion from elasticity has small effects, while dual theory predictions are farther from the data and the signs of precautionary effects are reversed.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Haliassos & Christis Hassapis, 1997. "Non-expected Utility, Saving, and Portfolios," Macroeconomics 9709003, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 09 Jun 1999.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9709003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Haliassos, 2002. "Stockholding: Recent Lessons from Theory and Computations," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 0206, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    2. Kim, Kun Ho, 2014. "Counter-cyclical risk aversion," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 384-401.
    3. Michael Haliassos & Christis Hassapis, 1998. "Borrowing Constraints, Portfolio Choice, and Precautionary," Macroeconomics 9809008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Guvenen, Fatih, 2006. "Reconciling conflicting evidence on the elasticity of intertemporal substitution: A macroeconomic perspective," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1451-1472, October.
    5. Panos Pashardes & Soteroula Hajispyrou, 2002. "Consumer Demand and Welfare under Increasing Block Pricing," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 0207, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    6. Michael Haliassos & Alexander Michaelides, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Liquidity Constraints," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 143-177, February.
    7. Michael Haliassos & Christis Hassapis, 1998. "Borrowing Constraints, Portfolio Choice, and Precautionary Motives: Theoretical Predictions and Empirical Complications," CSEF Working Papers 11, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    8. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang, 2006. "The Loss Aversion / Narrow Framing Approach to the Equity Premium Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 12378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Binswanger, Johannes, 2007. "Risk management of pensions from the perspective of loss aversion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 641-667, April.
    10. Panos Hatzipanayotou & Sajal Lahiri & Michael S. Michael, 2002. "Reforms of Environmental Policies in the Presence of Cross-border Pollution and two Stage Clean Up," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 0203, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    11. Li, Y. & Donkers, A.C.D. & Melenberg, B., 2006. "The Non- and Semiparametric Analysis of MS Models : Some Applications," Discussion Paper 2006-95, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    precautionary motives; non-expected utility; first-order risk aversion; portfolio choice; saving;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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