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Anticipated regret as an explanation of uncertainty aversion

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  • Daniel Krähmer

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  • Rebecca Stone

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    Abstract

    The paper provides a psychological explanation of uncertainty aversion based on the fear of regret. We capture an agent’s regret using a reference-dependent utility function in which the agent’s utility depends on the performance of his chosen option relative to the performance of the option that would have been best ex post. An uncertain option is represented as a compound lottery. The basic idea is that selecting a compound lottery reveals information, which alters the ex post assessment of what the best choice would have been, inducing regret. We provide sufficient conditions under which regret implies uncertainty aversion in the sense of quasi-concave preferences over compound lotteries. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00199-011-0661-3
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Economic Theory.

    Volume (Year): 52 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 709-728

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:52:y:2013:i:2:p:709-728

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    Related research

    Keywords: Regret; Uncertainty aversion; Ambiguity aversion; Reference dependence; Information aversion; Hindsight bias; C72; D11; D81; D83;

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    References

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    1. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
    2. Pavlo Blavatskyy, 2011. "Loss aversion," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 127-148, January.
    3. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2004. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0407001, EconWPA.
    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. Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8jd5z5j2, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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    7. Segal, Uzi, 1990. "Two-Stage Lotteries without the Reduction Axiom," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 349-77, March.
    8. Robert F. Nau, 2006. "Uncertainty Aversion with Second-Order Utilities and Probabilities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(1), pages 136-145, January.
    9. David Schmeidler, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7662, David K. Levine.
    10. Halevy, Yoram, 2005. "Ellsberg Revisited: an Experimental Study," Microeconomics.ca working papers halevy-05-07-26-11-51-13, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 25 Feb 2014.
    11. Segal, Uzi, 1987. "The Ellsberg Paradox and Risk Aversion: An Anticipated Utility Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 175-202, February.
    12. Paul R. Milgrom, 1979. "Good Nevs and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Discussion Papers 407R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    13. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
    14. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
    15. Hayashi, Takashi, 2008. "Regret aversion and opportunity dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 242-268, March.
    16. Jose Apesteguia & Miguel Ballester, 2009. "A theory of reference-dependent behavior," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 427-455, September.
    17. David E. Bell, 1983. "Risk Premiums for Decision Regret," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(10), pages 1156-1166, October.
    18. Zeelenberg, M., 1999. "Anticipated regret, expected feedback and behavioral decision-making," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-80656, Tilburg University.
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    Cited by:
    1. Broll, Udo & Ergozue, Martin & Welzel, Peter & Wong, Wing-Keung, 2013. "Optimal Output for the Regret-Averse Competitive Firm Under Price Uncertainty," MPRA Paper 51703, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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