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Risky Curves: From Unobservable Utility to Observable Opportunity Sets

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  • Daniel Friedman

    (Dept. Economics, UC Santa Cruz; CESifo)

  • Shyam Sunder

    ()
    (Yale School of Management)

Abstract

Most theories of risky choice postulate that a decision maker maximizes the expectation of a Bernoulli (or utility or similar) function. We tour 60 years of empirical search and conclude that no such functions have yet been found that are useful for out-of-sample prediction. Nor do we find practical applications of Bernoulli functions in major risk-based industries such as finance, insurance and gambling. We sketch an alternative approach to modeling risky choice that focuses on potentially observable opportunities rather than on unobservable Bernoulli functions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1819.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1819

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Related research

Keywords: Expected utility; Risk aversion; St. Petersburg Paradox; Decisions under uncertainty; Option theory;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Normann, Hans Theo, 2011. "A within-subject analysis of other-regarding preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 321-338, June.
  2. Shyam Sunder, 2006. "Determinants of Economic Interaction: Behavior or Structure," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 21-32, May.
  3. Amar Cheema & Peter Leszczyc & Rajesh Bagchi & Richard Bagozzi & James Cox & Utpal Dholakia & Eric Greenleaf & Amit Pazgal & Michael Rothkopf & Michael Shen & Shyam Sunder & Robert Zeithammer, 2005. "Economics, Psychology, and Social Dynamics of Consumer Bidding in Auctions," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 401-413, December.
  4. Mariana Blanco & Dirk Engelmann & Alexander Koch & Hans-Theo Normann, 2010. "Belief elicitation in experiments: is there a hedging problem?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 412-438, December.
  5. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri & Imas, Alex, 2013. "Experimental methods: Eliciting risk preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 43-51.

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