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Putting Risk in Its Proper Place

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  • Louis Eeckhoudt
  • Harris Schlesinger

Abstract

This paper examines preferences toward particular classes of lottery pairs. We show how such concepts as prudence and temperance can be fully characterized by a preference relation over these lotteries. If preferences are defined in an expected-utility framework with differentiable utility, the direction of preference for a particular class of lottery pairs is equivalent to signing the nth derivative of the utility function. What makes our characterization appealing is its simplicity, which seems particularly amenable to experimentation.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/000282806776157777
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 96 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 280-289

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:1:p:280-289

Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282806776157777
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References

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  1. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  2. X. Henry Wang & Carmen F. Menezes, 2004. "Increasing Outer Risk," Working Papers 0413, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 23 Dec 2004.
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  4. Christian Gollier, 2004. "The Economics of Risk and Time," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572249, January.
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  10. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
  11. Bigelow, John P & Menezes, Carmen F, 1995. "Outside Risk Aversion and the Comparative Statics of Increasing Risk in Quasi-linear Decision Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(3), pages 643-73, August.
  12. Gollier, Christian & Pratt, John W, 1996. "Risk Vulnerability and the Tempering Effect of Background Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1109-23, September.
  13. Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1987. "Proper Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 143-54, January.
  14. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Gollier, Christian & Schlesinger, Harris, 1996. "Changes in Background Risk and Risk-Taking Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 683-89, May.
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  16. Shorrocks, Anthony F & Foster, James E, 1987. "Transfer Sensitive Inequality Measures," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 485-97, July.
  17. Ekern, Steinar, 1980. "Increasing Nth degree risk," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 329-333.
  18. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Gollier, Christian & Schneider, Thierry, 1995. "Risk-aversion, prudence and temperance: A unified approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 331-336, June.
  19. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  20. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
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