Does Risk Seeking Drive Asset Prices? A Stochastic Dominance Analysis of Aggregate Investor Preferences

The Review of Financial Studies, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 925-953, 2005

ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2002-50-F&A

53 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2002 Last revised: 30 Aug 2012

See all articles by Thierry Post

Thierry Post

Graduate School of Business of Nazarbayev University

Haim Levy

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration; Fordham University

Date Written: May 1, 2002

Abstract

We investigate whether risk seeking or non-concave utility functions can help to explain the cross-sectional pattern of stock returns. For this purpose, we analyze the stochastic dominance efficiency classification of the value-weighted market portfolio relative to benchmark portfolios based on market capitalization, book-to-market equity ratio and momentum. We use various existing and novel stochastic dominance criteria that account for the possibility that investors exhibit local risk seeking behavior. Our results suggest that Markowitz type utility functions, with risk aversion for losses and risk seeking for gains, can capture the cross-sectional pattern of stock returns. The low average yield on big caps, growth stocks and past losers may reflect investors' twin desire for downside protection in bear markets and upside potential in bull markets.

Keywords: Asset pricing, risk seeking, specification error, prospect theory, stochastic dominance

JEL Classification: G12, G3, M

Suggested Citation

Post, Thierry and Levy, Haim, Does Risk Seeking Drive Asset Prices? A Stochastic Dominance Analysis of Aggregate Investor Preferences (May 1, 2002). The Review of Financial Studies, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 925-953, 2005, ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2002-50-F&A, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=320767 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.320767

Thierry Post (Contact Author)

Graduate School of Business of Nazarbayev University ( email )

53 Kabanbay Batyra Avenue
Astana, 010000
Kazakhstan

Haim Levy

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://pluto.huji.ac.il/~mshlevy/

Fordham University ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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