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Risk aversion and expected-utility theory: A calibration exercise

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  • Laura Schechter

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Abstract

Rabin (Econometrica 68(5):1281–1292, 2000 ) argues that, under expected-utility, observed risk aversion over modest stakes implies extremely high risk aversion over large stakes. Cox and Sadiraj (Games Econom. Behav. 56(1):45–60, 2006 ) have replied that this is a problem of expected-utility of wealth, but that expected-utility of income does not share that problem. We combine experimental data on moderate-scale risky choices with survey data on income to estimate coefficients of relative risk aversion using expected-utility of consumption. Assuming individuals cannot save implies an average coefficient of relative risk aversion of 1.92. Assuming they can decide between consuming today and saving for the future, a realistic assumption, implies quadruple-digit coefficients. This gives empirical evidence for narrow bracketing. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.

Volume (Year): 35 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (August)
Pages: 67-76

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:35:y:2007:i:1:p:67-76

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100299

Related research

Keywords: Expected utility theory; Asset integration; Risk aversion; Experiments; Paraguay; D01; D81; O1; C93;

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References

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  10. Laura Schechter, 2005. "Traditional trust measurement and the risk confound: An experiment in rural paraguay," Artefactual Field Experiments 00106, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. James C. Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj, . "Small- and Large-Stakes Risk Aversion: Implications of Concavity Calibration for Decision Theory," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-03, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  12. Daniel Kahneman & Dan Lovallo, 1993. "Timid Choices and Bold Forecasts: A Cognitive Perspective on Risk Taking," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(1), pages 17-31, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Elena Vigna, 2009. "Mean-variance inefficiency of CRRA and CARA utility functions for portfolio selection in defined contribution pension schemes," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 108, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2009.
  2. Marcel Fafchamps & Bereket Kebede & Daniel John Zizzo, 2014. "Keep Up With the Winners: Experimental Evidence on Risk Taking, Asset Integration, and Peer Effects," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 14-03, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  3. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2007. "Reference-Dependent Risk Attitudes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1047-1073, September.
  4. Hörisch, Hannah, 2007. "Is the veil of ignorance only a concept about risk? An experiment," Discussion Papers in Economics 1362, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Francisco Galarza, 2009. "Choices under risk in rural peru," Artefactual Field Experiments 00047, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Juan Camilo Cardenas & Jeffrey P. Carpenter, 2005. "Experiments and Economic Development: Lessons from Field Labs in the Developing World," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0505, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  7. Elena Vigna, 2009. "Mean-variance inefficiency of CRRA and CARA utility functions for portfolio selection in defined contribution pension schemes," CeRP Working Papers 89, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  8. Cameron, Lisa A. & Shah, Manisha, 2012. "Risk-Taking Behavior in the Wake of Natural Disasters," IZA Discussion Papers 6756, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2010. "Risk aversion and expected utility of consumption over time," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 208-219, January.
  10. Stefan Zeisberger & Dennis Vrecko & Thomas Langer, 2012. "Measuring the time stability of Prospect Theory preferences," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 359-386, March.
  11. Zhang, Le & Kono, Yasuyuki & Kobayashi, Shigeo, 2014. "The process of expansion in commercial banana cropping in tropical China: A case study at a Dai village, Mengla County," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 32-38.
  12. Menachem Brenner & Yehuda Izhakian, 2011. "Asset Priving and Ambiguity: Empirical Evidence," Working Papers 11-10, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  13. Booij, Adam S. & van Praag, Bernard M.S., 2009. "A simultaneous approach to the estimation of risk aversion and the subjective time discount rate," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 374-388, May.
  14. Mitchell, Paul D. & Knight, Thomas O., 2007. "Economic Analysis of Supplemental Deductible Coverage as Recommended in the USDA's 2007 Farm Bill Proposal," Staff Paper Series 509, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
  15. Heinemann, Frank, 2005. "Measuring Risk Aversion and the Wealth Effect," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 156, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.

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