NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Imputing Risk Tolerance from Survey Responses

Miles S. Kimball, Claudia R. Sahm, Matthew D. Shapiro

NBER Working Paper No. 13337
Issued in August 2007
NBER Program(s):   AP   EFG   ME

Economic theory assigns a central role to risk preferences. This paper develops a measure of relative risk tolerance using responses to hypothetical income gambles in the Health and Retirement Study. In contrast to most survey measures that produce an ordinal metric, this paper shows how to construct a cardinal proxy for the risk tolerance of each survey respondent. The paper also shows how to account for measurement error in estimating this proxy and how to obtain consistent regression estimates despite the measurement error. The risk tolerance proxy is shown to explain differences in asset allocation across households.

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Published: Kimball, Miles S & Sahm, Claudia R & Shapiro, Matthew D, 2008. "Imputing Risk Tolerance From Survey Responses," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(483), pages 1028-1038.

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