IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Asset pricing under rational learning about rare disasters

  • Koulovatianos, Christos
  • Wieland, Volker

This paper proposes a new approach for modeling investor fear after rare disasters. The key element is to take into account that investors’ information about fundamentals driving rare downward jumps in the dividend process is not perfect. Bayesian learning implies that beliefs about the likelihood of rare disasters drop to a much more pessimistic level once a disaster has occurred. Such a shift in beliefs can trigger massive declines in price-dividend ratios. Pessimistic beliefs persist for some time. Thus, belief dynamics are a source of apparent excess volatility relative to a rational expectations benchmark. Due to the low frequency of disasters, even an infinitely-lived investor will remain uncertain about the exact probability. Our analysis is conducted in continuous time and offers closed-form solutions for asset prices. We distinguish between rational and adaptive Bayesian learning. Rational learners account for the possibility of future changes in beliefs in determining their demand for risky assets, while adaptive learners take beliefs as given. Thus, risky assets tend to be lower-valued and price-dividend ratios vary less under adaptive versus rational learning for identical priors. Keywords: beliefs, Bayesian learning, controlled diffusions and jump processes, learning about jumps, adaptive learning, rational learning.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS) in its series IMFS Working Paper Series with number 46.

in new window

Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:imfswp:46
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Christos Koulovatianos & Leonard J. Mirman & Marc Santugini, 2007. "Optimal Growth and Uncertainty: Learning," Cahiers de recherche 07-05, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée, revised Feb 2008.
  2. Klaus Adam & Albert Marcet, 2011. "Booms and Busts in Asset Prices," CEP Discussion Papers dp1059, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "Subjective Expectations and Asset-Return Puzzles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1102-1130, September.
  4. Jun Liu, 2005. "An Equilibrium Model of Rare-Event Premia and Its Implication for Option Smirks," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 131-164.
  5. Francois Gourio, 2008. "Disasters and Recoveries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 68-73, May.
  6. Jess Benhabib & Chetan Dave, 2011. "Learning, Large Deviations and Rare Events," NBER Working Papers 16816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jessica A. Wachter, 2013. "Can Time-Varying Risk of Rare Disasters Explain Aggregate Stock Market Volatility?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(3), pages 987-1035, 06.
  8. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "An Intertemporal General Equilibrium Model of Asset Prices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 363-84, March.
  9. Xavier Gabaix, 2008. "Variable Rare Disasters: An Exactly Solved Framework for Ten Puzzles in Macro-Finance," NBER Working Papers 13724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Bakshi, Gurdip & Skoulakis, Georgios, 2010. "Do subjective expectations explain asset pricing puzzles?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 462-477, December.
  11. Robert J. Barro, 2007. "Rare Disasters, Asset Prices, and Welfare Costs," NBER Working Papers 13690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Mirman, Leonard J & Samuelson, Larry & Urbano, Amparo, 1993. "Monopoly Experimentation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 549-63, August.
  13. Nicholas Barberis & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "A Model of Investor Sentiment," NBER Working Papers 5926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gourio, François, 2008. "Time-series predictability in the disaster model," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 191-203, December.
  15. 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.
  16. Rady, Sven & Keller, Godfrey, 2010. "Strategic experimentation with Poisson bandits," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5(2), May.
  17. Ravi Bansal & Ivan Shaliastovich, 2011. "Learning and Asset-price Jumps," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(8), pages 2738-2780.
  18. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  19. Duffie, Darrell & Epstein, Larry G, 1992. "Asset Pricing with Stochastic Differential Utility," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 411-36.
  20. Guidolin, Massimo & Timmermann, Allan, 2007. "Properties of equilibrium asset prices under alternative learning schemes," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 161-217, January.
  21. Barro, Robert, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," Scholarly Articles 3208215, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  22. R. C. Merton, 1970. "Optimum Consumption and Portfolio Rules in a Continuous-time Model," Working papers 58, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  23. Stirzaker, David, 2005. "Stochastic Processes and Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198568148, December.
  24. Rietz, Thomas A., 1988. "The equity risk premium a solution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 117-131, July.
  25. Francis Longstaff & Monika Piazzesi, 2003. "Corporate Earnings and the Equity Premium," NBER Working Papers 10054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson & Robert Barro & José Ursúa, 2010. "Crises and Recoveries in an Empirical Model of Consumption Disasters," NBER Working Papers 15920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2000. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Xavier Gabaix, 2008. "Variable Rare Disasters: A Tractable Theory of Ten Puzzles in Macro-finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 64-67, May.
  29. Shiller, Robert J & Kon-Ya, Fumiko & Tsutsui, Yoshiro, 1996. "Why Did the Nikkei Crash? Expanding the Scope of Expectations Data Collection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 156-64, February.
  30. Beck, Gunter W. & Wieland, Volker, 2002. "Learning and control in a changing economic environment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(9-10), pages 1359-1377, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:imfswp:46. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.