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The safety first expected utility model: Experimental evidence and economic implications

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  • Levy, Haim
  • Levy, Moshe
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    Abstract

    Roy's [Roy, A., 1952. Safety first and the holding of assets. Econometrica 20 (3), 431-449] safety first criterion advocates the minimization of the probability of outcomes below a certain "disaster" level. This paper examines safety first theoretically and experimentally. We find that safety first plays a crucial role in decision-making, inducing choices that cannot be explained by, and even contradict, risk-aversion, Prospect Theory, and loss-aversion in general. Yet, safety first alone cannot explain individual choice. Therefore, we propose an expected utility - safety first (EU-SF) model where decisions are made based on a weighted average of the safety first criterion and standard expected utility maximization. We experimentally estimate these relative weights, and discuss their economic implications.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Banking & Finance.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 1494-1506

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:33:y:2009:i:8:p:1494-1506

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jbf

    Related research

    Keywords: Safety first Asset allocation Equity premium CAPM Risk aversion Loss aversion Stochastic dominance;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Anthonisz, Sean A., 2012. "Asset pricing with partial-moments," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 2122-2135.
    2. Fortin, Ines & Hlouskova, Jaroslava, 2011. "Optimal asset allocation under linear loss aversion," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 2974-2990, November.
    3. Briner, Simon & Finger, Robert, 2012. "Bio-economic modelling of decisions under yield and price risk for suckler cow farms," 123rd Seminar, February 23-24, 2012, Dublin, Ireland 122547, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Robert Vermeulen, 2011. "International Diversification During the Financial Crisis: A Blessing for Equity Investors?," DNB Working Papers 324, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    5. Huang, Wei & Liu, Qianqiu & Ghon Rhee, S. & Wu, Feng, 2012. "Extreme downside risk and expected stock returns," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1492-1502.
    6. Darolles, Serge & Gourieroux, Christian, 2010. "Conditionally fitted Sharpe performance with an application to hedge fund rating," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 578-593, March.

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