Risk aversion among Australian households

Author name: 
Breunig R
Freestone O

This paper explores risk aversion among Australian households using panel data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. Using households’ share of risky assets, we test whether relative risk aversion is constant in wealth. After accounting for measurement error, we cannot reject the constant relative risk aversion (CRRA) assumption. Using an Euler equation that adjusts for measurement error in consumption data, we estimate the coefficient of relative risk aversion in the CRRA utility function. Point estimates from our preferred non-linear models suggest a moderate degree of risk aversion for the typical Australian household, with values ranging from 1.2 to 1.4. These findings can provide guidance for calibrating household preferences in macroeconomic models of the Australian economy.

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