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Jel Classification:D81 

Working Paper
Lottery Loans in the Eighteenth Century

In the 18th century Britain frequently issued lottery loans, selling bonds whose size was determined by a draw soon after the sale. The probability distribution was perfectly known ex-ante and highly skewed. After the draw the bonds were identical (except for size) and indistinguishable from regular bonds. I collect market prices for the lottery tickets and show that investors were paying a substantial premium to be exposed to this purely artificial risk. I show that investors were well-to-do and included many merchants and bankers. I turn to cumulative prospect theory to make sense of these ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2018-7

Report
Anxiety in the face of risk

We model an ?anxious? agent as one who is more risk averse with respect to imminent risks than with respect to distant risks. Based on a utility function that captures individual subjects? behavior in experiments, we provide a tractable theory relaxing the restriction of constant risk aversion across horizons and show that it generates rich implications. We first apply the model to insurance markets and explain the high premia for short-horizon insurance. Then, we show that costly delegated portfolio management, investment advice, and withdrawal fees emerge as endogenous features and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 610

Report
Human capital investments and expectations about career and family

This paper studies how individuals believe human capital investments will affect their future career and family life. We conducted a survey of high-ability currently enrolled college students and elicited beliefs about how their choice of college major, and whether to complete their degree at all, would affect a wide array of future events, including future earnings, employment, marriage prospects, potential spousal characteristics, and fertility. We find that students perceive large ?returns" to human capital not only in their own future earnings, but also in a number of other dimensions ...
Staff Reports , Paper 792

Report
Risk Preferences at the Time of COVID-19: An Experiment with Professional Traders and Students

We study whether the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted risk preferences, comparing the results of experiments conducted before and during the outbreak. In each experiment, we elicit risk preferences from two sample groups: professional traders and undergraduate students. We find that, on average, risk preferences have remained constant for both pools of participants. Our results suggest that the increases in risk premia observed during the pandemic are not due to changes in risk appetite; rather, they are solely due to a change in beliefs by market participants. The findings of our paper support ...
Staff Reports , Paper 927

Report
Preferences and biases in educational choices and labor market expectations: shrinking the black box of gender

Standard observed characteristics explain only part of the differences between men and women in education choices and labor market trajectories. Using an experiment to derive students' levels of overconfidence, and preferences for competitiveness and risk, this paper investigates whether these behavioral biases and preferences explain gender differences in college major choices and expected future earnings. In a sample of high-ability undergraduates, we find that competitiveness and overconfidence, but not risk aversion, are systematically related with expectations about future earnings: ...
Staff Reports , Paper 627

Working Paper
Rational Inattention via Ignorance Equivalence

We introduce the concept of the ignorance equivalent to effectively summarize the payoff possibilities in a finite Rational Inattention problem. The ignorance equivalent is a unique fictitious action that is weakly preferable to all existing learning strategies and yet generates no new profitable learning opportunities when added to the menu of choices. We fully characterize the relationship between the ignorance equivalent and the optimal learning strategies. Agents with heterogeneous priors self-select their own ignorance equivalent, which gives rise to an expected-utility analogue of the ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-29

Working Paper
Assessing International Commonality in Macroeconomic Uncertainty and Its Effects

This paper uses a large vector autoregression to measure international macroeconomic uncertainty and its effects on major economies. We provide evidence of significant commonality in macroeconomic volatility, with one common factor driving strong comovement across economies and variables. We measure uncertainty and its effects with a large model in which the error volatilities feature a factor structure containing time-varying global components and idiosyncratic components. Global uncertainty contemporaneously affects both the levels and volatilities of the included variables. Our new ...
Working Papers , Paper 18-03R

Discussion Paper
Banking System Vulnerability: Annual Update

A key part of understanding the stability of the U.S. financial system is to monitor leverage and funding risks in the financial sector and the way in which these vulnerabilities interact to amplify negative shocks. In this post, we provide an update of four analytical models, introduced in a Liberty Street Economics post last year, that aim to capture different aspects of banking system vulnerability. Since their introduction, vulnerabilities as indicated by these models have increased moderately, continuing the slow but steady upward trend that started around 2016. Despite the recent ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20191218

Working Paper
Ignorance, Uncertainty, and Strategic Consumption-Portfolio Decisions

This paper constructs a recursive utility version of a canonical Merton (1971) model with uninsurable labor income and unknown income growth to study how the interaction between two types of uncertainty due to ignorance affects strategic consumption-portfolio rules and precautionary savings. Specifically, after solving the model explicitly, we theoretically and quantitatively explore (i) how these ignorance-induced uncertainties interact with intertemporal substitution, risk aversion, and the correlation between the equity return and labor income, and (ii) how they jointly affect strategic ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 17-13

Working Paper
Does Smooth Ambiguity Matter for Asset Pricing?

We use the Bayesian method introduced by Gallant and McCulloch (2009) to estimate consumption-based asset pricing models featuring smooth ambiguity preferences. We rely on semi-nonparametric estimation of a flexible auxiliary model in our structural estimation. Based on the market and aggregate consumption data, our estimation provides statistical support for asset pricing models with smooth ambiguity. Statistical model comparison shows that models with ambiguity, learning and time-varying volatility are preferred to the long-run risk model. We analyze asset pricing implications of the ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1221

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Zafar, Basit 6 items

Richter, Alexander W. 5 items

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Luo, Yulei 4 items

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