Risk, robustness and knightian uncertainty in continuoustime, heterogenous agents, financial equilibria

Trojani, Fabio
Istituto di finanza (IFin), Facoltà di scienze economiche, Università della Svizzera italiana, Svizzera

Vanini, Paolo
Zürcher Kantonalbank, Zurich, Switzerland
55
English
We analyze and compare analytically continuoustime financial equilibria where heterogeneous risk averse investors care about model misspecification through some preference for robustness and in the presence of a stochastic opportunity set. This incorporates a concern for model misspecification into equilibrium asset prices. Since no exact equilibrium computations are possible in this model setting, perturbation theory is used to provide first order asymptotics for the implied equilibria. We find that to first order robustness enhances effective risk aversion while keeping constant the preference for intertemporal substitution. Therefore, equilibrium consumption, equilibrium capital stock dynamics (in production economies) and equilibrium stock price processes (in exchange economies) are not directly modified by a preference for robustness. By contrast, robustness affects directly optimal portfolios, causing lower equilibrium interest rates  and thereby enhanced risk premia  when the speculative investment motive dominates the intertemporal hedging demand. Finally, at variance with other robustness specifications, definitions of robustness that mimic Knightian uncertainty produce state dependent effective risk aversions that generate first order risk aversion effects on optimal portfolios, equilibrium interest rates and equity premia. This yields functional forms for some key equilibrium variables like equity premia which are structurally different from those implied by standard risk aversion or other robustness definitions, which reflect all second order risk aversion. Moreover, under Knightian uncertainty the structure of an equilibrium depends strongly on the completeness of the underlying economy. For instance, within complete production economies we find that Knightian uncertainty can generate an endogenous stock market participation, a feature that cannot be obtained by the other robustness definitions. The richness of the equilibrium effects generated in our heterogenous economies suggests that definitions of robustness which mimic Knightian uncertainty can generate the largest variety of robust economic behaviours in the presence of model uncertainty.

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5389

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