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The Nature of Risk Preferences: Evidence from Insurance Choices

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  • Barseghyan, Levon

    (Cornell University)

  • Molinari, Francesca

    (Cornell University)

  • O'Donoghue, Ted

    (Cornell University)

  • Teitelbaum, Joshua C.

    (Georgetown University)

Abstract

We use data on households' deductible choices in auto and home insurance to estimate a structural model of risky choice that incorporates "standard" risk aversion (concave utility over final wealth), loss aversion, and nonlinear probability weighting. Our estimates indicate that nonlinear probability weighting plays the most important role in explaining the data. More specifically, we find that standard risk aversion is small, loss aversion is nonexistent, and nonlinear probability weighting is large. When we estimate restricted models, we find that nonlinear probability weighting alone can better explain the data than standard risk aversion alone, loss aversion alone, and standard risk aversion and loss aversion combined. Our main findings are robust to a variety of modeling assumptions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 11-03.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:11-03

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  1. Loomes, Graham & Moffatt, Peter G & Sugden, Robert, 2002. " A Microeconometric Test of Alternative Stochastic Theories of Risky Choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 103-30, March.
  2. Erik Snowberg & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Explaining the Favorite-Long Shot Bias: Is it Risk-Love or Misperceptions?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 723-746, 08.
  3. Syngjoo Choi & Raymond Fisman & Douglas Gale & Shachar Kariv, 2007. "Consistency and Heterogeneity of Individual Behavior under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1921-1938, December.
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  5. Hey, John D & Orme, Chris, 1994. "Investigating Generalizations of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1291-1326, November.
  6. Jaap H. Abbring & James J. Heckman & Pierre-André Chiappori & Jean Pinquet, 2003. "Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard In Insurance: Can Dynamic Data Help to Distinguish?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 512-521, 04/05.
  7. Adrian Bruhin & Helga Fehr-Duda & Thomas Epper, 2010. "Risk and Rationality: Uncovering Heterogeneity in Probability Distortion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1375-1412, 07.
  8. Tomomi Tanaka & Colin F. Camerer & Quang Nguyen, 2010. "Risk and Time Preferences: Linking Experimental and Household Survey Data from Vietnam," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 557-71, March.
  9. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  10. Alma Cohen & Peter Siegelman, 2009. "Testing for Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets," NBER Working Papers 15586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Thierry Post & Martijn J. van den Assem & Guido Baltussen & Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 38-71, March.
  12. Kliger, Doron & Levy, Ori, 2009. "Theories of choice under risk: Insights from financial markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 330-346, August.
  13. Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanie, 2000. "Estimating Preferences under Risk: The Case of Racetrack Bettors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 503-530, June.
  14. Jaap H. Abbring & Pierre-André Chiappori & Jean Pinquet, 2003. "Moral Hazard and Dynamic Insurance Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 767-820, 06.
  15. Levon Barseghyan & Jeffrey Prince & Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 2011. "Are Risk Preferences Stable across Contexts? Evidence from Insurance Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 591-631, April.
  16. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2012. "Salience and Consumer Choice," NBER Working Papers 17947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nicola Gennaioli & Alberto Martin & Stefano Rossi, 2012. "Sovereign Default, Domestic Banks, and Financial Institutions," Working Papers 462, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  3. Shawn Cole & Xavier Giné & Jeremy Tobacman & Petia Topalova & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2009. "Barriers to household risk management: evidence from India," Staff Reports 373, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. Johannes Spinnewijn, 2012. "Heterogeneity, Demand for Insurance and Adverse Selection," CEP Discussion Papers dp1142, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Raj Chetty & Amy Finkelstein, 2012. "Social Insurance: Connecting Theory to Data," NBER Working Papers 18433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Vieider, Ferdinand M. & Truong, Nghi & Martinsson, Peter & Pham Khanh Nam & Martinsson, Peter, 2013. "Risk preferences and development revisited: A field experiment in Vietnam," Discussion Papers, WZB Junior Research Group Risk and Development SP II 2013-403, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  7. Hvide, Hans K. & Panos, Georgios A., 2014. "Risk tolerance and entrepreneurship," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 200-223.
  8. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Gandhi, Amit & Salanié, Bernard & Salanié, François, 2012. "From Aggregate Betting Data to Individual Risk Preferences," TSE Working Papers 13-453, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  9. Pagel, Michaela, 2012. "Expectations-Based Reference-Dependent Preferences and Asset Pricing," MPRA Paper 47933, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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