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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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  1. Schechter, Laura, 2007. "Traditional trust measurement and the risk confound: An experiment in rural Paraguay," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 272-292, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Hörisch, Hannah, 2008. "Is the veil of ignorance only a concept about risk? An experiment," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 230, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  4. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "Reference-Dependent Risk Attitudes," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001267, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Mitchell, Paul D. & Knight, Thomas O., 2008. "Economic Analysis of Supplemental Deductible Coverage as Recommended in the USDA's 2007 Farm Bill Proposal," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 37(1), April.
  8. Galarza, Francisco, 2009. "Choices under Risk in Rural Peru," MPRA Paper 17708, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. 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.
  10. Fafchamps, Marcel & Kebede, Bereket & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2013. "Keep Up With the Winners: Experimental Evidence on Risk Taking, Asset Integration, and Peer Effects," CEPR Discussion Papers 9714, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.

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