Cahiers du CEREMADE

Unité Mixte de Recherche du C.N.R.S. N°7534
Abstract : Our aim is to analyze the link between optimism and risk aversion in a subjective expected utility setting and to estimate the average level of optimism when weighted by risk tolerance. This quantity is of particular importance since it characterizes the consensus belief in risk-taking situations with heterogeneous beliefs. Its estimation leads to a nontrivial statistical problem. We start from a large lottery survey (1536 individuals). We assume that individuals have true unobservable characteristics and that their answers in the survey are noisy realizations of these characteristics. We adopt a Bayesian approach for the statistical analysis of this problem and use an hybrid MCMC approximation method to numerically estimate the distributions of the unobservable characteristics. We obtain that individuals are on average pessimistic and that pessimism and risk tolerance are positively correlated. As a consequence, we conclude that the consensus belief is biased towards pessimism.
Are risk averse agents more optimistic? A Bayesian estimation approach
BEN MANSOUR Selima, JOUINI Elyès, MARIN Jean-Michel
NAPP Clotilde, ROBERT Christian P.
Université de PARIS - DAUPHINE
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