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Status quo bias, multiple priors and uncertainty aversion

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  • Ortoleva, Pietro

Abstract

Motivated by the extensive evidence about the relevance of status quo bias both in experiments and in real markets, we study this phenomenon from a decision-theoretic prospective, focusing on the case of preferences under uncertainty. We develop an axiomatic framework that takes as a primitive the preferences of an agent for each possible status quo option, and provide a characterization according to which the agent considers a full-dimensional set of possible priors and abandons her status quo option only if she finds an alternative that returns a higher expected utility for each of these priors. We then show that, in this framework, the very presence of a status quo induces the agent to be more uncertainty averse than she would be without a status quo option.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 69 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 411-424

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:69:y:2010:i:2:p:411-424

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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Keywords: Status quo bias Ambiguity aversion Endowment effect;

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References

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  1. Tomasz Strzalecki, 2011. "Axiomatic Foundations of Multiplier Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 47-73, 01.
  2. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  4. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  5. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
  6. Thomas J. Sargent & LarsPeter Hansen, 2001. "Robust Control and Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 60-66, May.
  7. Hartman, Raymond S & Doane, Michael J & Woo, Chi-Keung, 1991. "Consumer Rationality and the Status Quo," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 141-62, February.
  8. Masatlioglu, Yusufcan & Ok, Efe A., 2005. "Rational choice with status quo bias," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 1-29, March.
  9. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini, 2006. "Ambiguity Aversion, Robustness, and the Variational Representation of Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1447-1498, November.
  10. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  11. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
  12. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  13. Sugden, Robert, 2003. "Reference-dependent subjective expected utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 172-191, August.
  14. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
  15. Sagi, Jacob S., 2006. "Anchored preference relations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 283-295, September.
  16. Mercè Roca & Robin Hogarth & A. John Maule, 2005. "Ambiguity seeking as a result of the status quo bias," Economics Working Papers 882, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2006.
  17. Truman F. Bewley, 1986. "Knightian Decision Theory: Part 1," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 807, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mandler, Michael, 2014. "Indecisiveness in behavioral welfare economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 219-235.
  2. Stoye, Jörg, 2011. "Axioms for minimax regret choice correspondences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(6), pages 2226-2251.
  3. Georgios Gerasimou, 2013. "A Behavioural Model of Choice in the Presence of Decision Conflict," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201302, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
  4. Gerasimou, Georgios, 2012. "Asymmetric Dominance, Deferral and Status Quo Bias in a Theory of Choice with Incomplete Preferences," MPRA Paper 40097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Daniele Pennesi, 2013. "Endogenous Status Quo," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 314, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  6. Ghossoub, Mario, 2011. "Towards a Purely Behavioral Definition of Loss Aversion," MPRA Paper 37628, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 23 Mar 2012.

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