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Time Varying Risk Aversion

53 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2013 Last revised: 30 Aug 2014

Luigi Guiso

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF)

Paola Sapienza

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Luigi Zingales

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: June 1, 2013

Abstract

We use a repeated survey of an Italian bank’s clients to test whether investors’ risk aversion increases following the 2008 financial crisis. We find that both a qualitative and a quantitative measure of risk aversion increases substantially after the crisis. After considering standard explanations, we investigate whether this increase might be an emotional response (fear) triggered by a scary experience. To show the plausibility of this conjecture, we conduct a lab experiment. We find that subjects who watched a horror movie have a certainty equivalent that is 27% lower than the ones who did not, supporting the fear-based explanation. Finally, we test the fear-based model with actual trading behavior and find consistent evidence.

Suggested Citation

Guiso, Luigi and Sapienza, Paola and Zingales, Luigi, Time Varying Risk Aversion (June 1, 2013). Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 13-64; Fama-Miller Working Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2303800 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2303800

Luigi Guiso

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ( email )

Via Sallustiana 62
Rome, 00187
Italy
+39 06 4792 4858 (Phone)
+39 06 4792 4872 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.eief.it/faculty-visitors/faculty-a-z/luigi-guiso/

Paola Sapienza

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management - Department of Finance ( email )

Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-7436 (Phone)
847-491-5719 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Luigi Zingales (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-3196 (Phone)
773-834-2081 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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