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Measuring risk aversion with lists: A new bias

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  • Antoni Bosch-Domènech
  • Joaquim Silvestre

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

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    Abstract

    Various experimental procedures aimed at measuring individual risk aversion involve a list of pairs of alternative prospects. We first study the widely used method by Holt and Laury (2002), for which we find that the removal of some items from the lists yields a systematic decrease in risk aversion. This bias is quite distinct from other confounds that have been previously observed in the use of the Holt and Laury method. It may be related to empirical phenomena and theoretical developments where better prospects increase risk aversion. Nevertheless, we have also found that the more recent elicitation method due to Abdellaoui et al. (2011), also based on lists, does not display any statistically significant bias when the corresponding items of the list are removed. Our results suggest that methods other than the popular Holt and Laury one may be preferable for the measurement of risk aversion.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1210.

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    Length: 33
    Date of creation: 20 May 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:12-10

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    Keywords: Risk aversion; risk attitudes; experiments; lists; elicitation method; Holt; Laury; Abdellaoui; Driouchi; l’Haridon; independence axiom;

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    1. Bosch-Domenech, Antoni & Silvestre, Joaquim, 1999. "Does risk aversion or attraction depend on income? An experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 265-273, December.
    2. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Joaquim Silvestre, 2003. "Do the Wealthy Risk More Money? An Experimental Comparison," Discussion Papers 03-15, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    3. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Joaquim Silvestre, 2006. "Averting risk in the face of large losses: Bernoulli vs. Tversky and Kahneman," Economics Working Papers 932, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    4. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Ahmed Driouchi & Olivier L’Haridon, 2011. "Risk aversion elicitation: reconciling tractability and bias minimization," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 63-80, July.
    5. Steffen Anderson & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & Rutstrom Elisabet, 2007. "Valuation using multiple price list formats," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(6), pages 675-682.
    6. Chetan Dave & Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Christian Rojas, 2010. "Eliciting risk preferences: When is simple better?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 219-243, December.
    7. Steffen Andersen & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & E. Rutström, 2006. "Elicitation using multiple price list formats," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 383-405, December.
    8. Louis Lévy-Garboua & Hela Maafi & David Masclet & Antoine Terracol, 2012. "Risk aversion and framing effects," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 128-144, March.
    9. Glenn W. Harrison & Eric Johnson & Melayne M. McInnes & E. Elisabet Rutstr�m, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 897-901, June.
    10. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
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