IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Evidence for countercyclical risk aversion: an experiment with financial professionals

  • Alain Cohn
  • Jan Engelmann
  • Ernst Fehr
  • Michel Maréchal

A key ingredient of many popular asset pricing models is that investors exhibit countercyclical risk aversion, which helps explain major economic puzzles such as the strong and systematic variation in risk premiums over time and the high volatility of asset prices. There is, however, surprisingly little evidence for this assumption because it is difficult to control for the host of factors that change simultaneously during financial booms and busts. We circumvent these control problems by priming financial professionals with either a boom or a bust scenario and by subsequently measuring their risk aversion in two experimental investment tasks with real monetary stakes. Subjects who were primed with a financial bust were substantially more risk averse than those who were primed with a boom. Subjects were also more fearful in the bust than in the boom condition, and their fear is negatively related to investments in the risky asset, suggesting that fear may play an important role in countercyclical risk aversion. The mechanism described in this paper is relevant for theory and has important implications, as it provides the basis for a self-reinforcing process that amplifies market dynamics.

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: http://www.ubscenter.uzh.ch/assets/workingpapers/WP4_Evidence_for_Countercyclical_Risk_Aversion.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by UBS International Center of Economics in Society - Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series UBSCENTER - Working Papers with number 004.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision: Aug 2014
Handle: RePEc:zur:uceswp:004
Contact details of provider: Postal: +41-1-634 21 37
Phone: +41-1-634 21 37
Fax: +41-1-634 49 82
Web page: http://www.ubscenter.uzh.ch/
Email:


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. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell, 1986. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 812, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Pierre-André Chiappori & Monica Paiella, 2008. "Relative Risk Aversion Is Constant: Evidence from Panel Data," Discussion Papers 5_2008, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
  3. John List & Michael Haigh, 2005. "A simple test of expected utility theory using professional traders," Artefactual Field Experiments 00093, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Campbell, J.Y. & Shiller, R.J., 1988. "Stock Prices, Earnings And Expected Dividends," Papers 334, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  5. Marco Cipriani & Antonio Guarino, 2009. "Herd Behavior in Financial Markets: An Experiment with Financial Market Professionals," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(1), pages 206-233, 03.
  6. Kuhnen, Camelia M. & Knutson, Brian, 2011. "The Influence of Affect on Beliefs, Preferences, and Financial Decisions," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(03), pages 605-626, June.
  7. Peter Bossaerts, 2009. "What Decision Neuroscience Teaches Us About Financial Decision Making," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 383-404, November.
  8. David Hirshleifer & TYLER G. SHUMWAY, 2004. "Good Day Sunshine: Stock Returns and the Weather," Finance 0412004, EconWPA.
  9. Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Koch, Alexander K. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2008. "Belief Elicitation in Experiments: Is there a Hedging Problem?," IZA Discussion Papers 3517, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, 2001. "Prospect Theory And Asset Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 1-53, February.
  11. Brooks, A. & Chandrasekhar Pammi, V.S. & Noussair, C.N. & Capra, C.M. & Engelmann, J. & Berns, G.S., 2010. "Bad to worse : Striatal coding of the relative value of painful decisions," Other publications TiSEM ff9ee590-9456-44db-8b3c-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  12. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73908 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," CeRP Working Papers 66, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  14. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1995. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ulrike Malmendier & Stefan Nagel, 2011. "Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk Taking?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 373-416.
  16. Daniel J. Benjamin & James J. Choi & A. Joshua Strickland, 2007. "Social Identity and Preferences," NBER Working Papers 13309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Ronald Bosman & Frans van Winden, 2002. "Emotional Hazard in a Power-to-take Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 147-169, January.
  18. John H. Cochrane, 2011. "Presidential Address: Discount Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(4), pages 1047-1108, 08.
  19. Saunders, Edward M, Jr, 1993. "Stock Prices and Wall Street Weather," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1337-45, December.
  20. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. John List & Michael Haigh, 2005. "Do professional traders exhibit myopic loss aversion? An experimental analysis," Artefactual Field Experiments 00052, The Field Experiments Website.
  22. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4578443 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Cameron, Lisa A. & Shah, Manisha, 2012. "Risk-Taking Behavior in the Wake of Natural Disasters," IZA Discussion Papers 6756, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Gneezy, U. & Potters, J.J.M., 1997. "An experiment on risk taking and evaluation periods," Other publications TiSEM da6ba1bf-e15c-41b2-ae95-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  25. Rajnish Mehra, 2012. "Consumption-Based Asset Pricing Models," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 385-409, October.
  26. Julie Agnew & Pierluigi Balduzzi & Annika Sundén, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Trading in a Large 401(k) Plan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 193-215, March.
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:zur:uceswp:004. 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: (Marita Kieser)

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.