Utility Maximization, Risk Aversion, And Stochastic Dominance
Source: Cornell University
Consider an investor trading dynamically to maximize expected utility from terminal wealth. The aim is to study the dependence between her risk aversion and the distribution of the optimal terminal payoff. Economic intuition suggests that high risk aversion leads to a rather concentrated distribution, whereas lower risk aversion results in a higher average payoff at the expense of a more widespread distribution. Dybvig and Wang [J. Econ. Theory, 2011, to appear] find that this idea can indeed be turned into a rigorous mathematical statement in one-period models. More specifically, they show that lower risk aversion leads to a payoff which is larger in terms of second order stochastic dominance.