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Thirty Years of Prospect Theory in Economics: A Review and Assessment

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  • Nicholas C. Barberis
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    Abstract

    In 1979, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, published a paper in Econometrica titled "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk." The paper presented a new model of risk attitudes called "prospect theory," which elegantly captured the experimental evidence on risk taking, including the documented violations of expected utility. More than 30 years later, prospect theory is still widely viewed as the best available description of how people evaluate risk in experimental settings. However, there are still relatively few well-known and broadly accepted applications of prospect theory in economics. One might be tempted to conclude that, even if prospect theory is an excellent description of behavior in experimental settings, it is less relevant outside the laboratory. In my view, this lesson would be incorrect. Over the past decade, researchers in the field of behavioral economics have put a lot of thought into how prospect theory should be applied in economic settings. This effort is bearing fruit. A significant body of theoretical work now incorporates the ideas in prospect theory into more traditional models of economic behavior, and a growing body of empirical work tests the predictions of these new theories. I am optimistic that some insights of prospect theory will eventually find a permanent and significant place in mainstream economic analysis.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
    Pages: 173-96

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:27:y:2013:i:1:p:173-96

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.27.1.173
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    Cited by:
    1. Hansen, Fredrik & Anell, Anders & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Lyttkens, Carl Hampus, 2013. "The Future of Health Economics: The Potential of Behavioral and Experimental Economics," Working Papers 2013:20, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    2. Bulut, Harun & Collins, Keith J., 2013. "Political Economy of Crop Insurance Risk Subsidies under Imperfect Information," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150577, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Dorian Jullien, 2013. "Asian Disease-type of Framing of Outcomes as an Historical Curiosity," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-47, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    4. Amadeo Piolatto & Matthew Rablen, 2013. "Prospect theory and tax evasion: a reconsideration of the Yitzhaki Puzzle," IFS Working Papers W13/25, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. Vieider, Ferdinand M. & Truong, Nghi & Martinsson, Peter & Pham Khanh Nam & Martinsson, Peter, 2013. "Risk preferences and development revisited: A field experiment in Vietnam," Discussion Papers, WZB Junior Research Group Risk and Development SP II 2013-403, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    6. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Salience and Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 623-28, May.
    7. Moshe A. Milevsky & Thomas S. Salisbury, 2013. "Optimal Retirement Tontines for the 21st Century: With Reference to Mortality Derivatives in 1693," Papers 1307.2824, arXiv.org.
    8. Ryota Nakamura & Marc Suhrcke & Daniel John Zizzo, 2014. "A Triple Test for Behavioral Economics Models and Public Health Policy," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 14-01, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..

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