FRB logo

Abstract: Stability of preferences is central to how economists study behavior. This paper uses panel data on hypothetical gambles over lifetime income in the Health and Retirement Study to quantify changes in risk tolerance over time and differences across individuals. The maximum-likelihood estimation of a correlated random effects model utilizes information from 12,000 respondents in the 1992-2002 HRS. The results are consistent with constant relative risk aversion and career selection based on preferences. While risk tolerance changes with age and macroeconomic conditions, persistent differences across individuals account for 73% of the systematic variation.

Keywords: Risk tolerance, risk aversion, correlated random effects, interval regression

Full paper: Revised (304 KB PDF) | Original (308 KB PDF)
Full paper (Screen Reader Version): Revised | Original