The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 95–114 | Cite as

Comparative precautionary saving under higher-order risk and recursive utility

  • AJ A. Bostian
  • Christoph Heinzel
Original Article


Measuring and comparing the precautionary saving motive rest almost exclusively on the expected utility framework, and only focus on income risk or coefficients of the Arrow–Pratt type. We generalize the standard approach by characterizing comparative precautionary saving under recursive utility for increases in income risk and increases in risk on the saving return, including higher-order risk effects. We express the comparisons in terms of precautionary premia. In addition, we define a new class of preference coefficients, and derive the associated conditions to predict a stronger precautionary motive. The coefficients provide a detailed picture of the preferences sustaining precautionary saving and could be useful in applications.


Precautionary saving Prudence Recursive utility Higher-order risk Precautionary premium Preference coefficient 

JEL Classification

D91 D81 



We are grateful for valuable comments made by Sebastian Ebert and two anonymous reviewers, as well as Arthur Charpentier, Louis Eeckhoudt, Rachel Huang, Olivier l’Haridon, Liqun Liu, Debrah Meloso, Richard Peter, Art Snow, and participants in the 2016 International Conference on Economic and Financial Risks in Niort, the CEAR/MRIC Behavioral Insurance Workshop in Munich, and the 2017 EGRIE seminar. This research was partially supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2011, Grant Agreement no. 290693 (FOODSECURE), and by the William J. Fulbright Foundation.


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Copyright information

© International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TampereTampereFinland
  2. 2.SMART-LERECO, INRA, Agrocampus OuestRennesFrance

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