Ambiguity Aversion and Variance Premium
41 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2019 Last revised: 21 Feb 2019
Date Written: 2018-12-01
This paper offers an ambiguity-based interpretation of variance premiumâ€”the difference between risk-neutral and objective expectations of market return varianceâ€”as a compounding effect of both belief distortion and variance differential regarding the uncertain economic regimes. Our approach endogenously generates variance premium without imposing exogenous stochastic volatility or jumps in consumption process. Such a framework can reasonably match the mean variance premium as well as the mean equity premium, equity volatility, and the mean risk-free rate in the data. We find that about 96 percent of the mean variance premium can be attributed to ambiguity aversion. Applying the model to historical consumption data, we find that variance premium mostly captures depressions, deep recessions, and financial panics, with a postwar peak in 2009.
Keywords: ambiguity aversion, learning, variance premium, regime shift, belief distortion
JEL Classification: D81, E44, G12, G13
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