Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 219–241 | Cite as

Portfolio choice and risk attitudes: a household bargaining approach



The goal of this study is to understand how the households decide on portfolio asset allocation when the husband and wife have different risk preferences. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study for 1992–2006, we show that the share of risky assets in portfolios of two-person households increases with the risk tolerance of the spouse who has more bargaining power. The risk tolerance of the spouse who has less bargaining power does not seem to affect the share of household wealth allocated to risky assets. These results are consistent with a cooperative bargaining framework where the investment in risky assets depends on the bargaining power of the more risk tolerant spouse.


Portfolio choice Risky assets Household bargaining Risk tolerance Bargaining power 



We would like to thank Shoshana Grossbard, Olivia Mitchell, Robert Pollak, Frances Woolley, Urvi Neelakantan, two anonymous referees, and the participants at the 2010 American Economic Association (AEA) and 2011 American Council on Consumer Interest (ACCI) meetings for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human SciencesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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