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Further Reflections on Prospect Theory

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  • Susan K. Laury
  • Charles A. Holt

Abstract

This paper reports a new experimental test of prospect theoryâ??s reflection effect. We conduct a sequence of experiments that allow us to directly compare choices under reflected gains and losses where real and hypothetical payoffs range from several dollars to over $100. Lotteries with positive payoffs are transformed into lotteries over losses by reflecting all payoffs around zero. When we use hypothetical payments, more than half of the subjects who are risk averse for gains turn out to be risk seeking for losses. This "reflection effect" is diminished considerably with cash payoffs, where the modal choice pattern is to exhibit risk aversion for both gains and losses. However, we do observe a significant difference in risk attitudes between losses (where most subjects are approximately risk neutral) and gains (where most subjects are risk averse). Reflection rates are further reduced when payoffs are scaled up by a factor of 15 (for both real and hypothetical payoffs).

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File URL: http://excen.gsu.edu/workingpapers/GSU_EXCEN_WP_2006-23.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series with number 2006-23.

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Length: 30
Date of creation: Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2006-23

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References

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  1. Rabin, Matthew, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt731230f8, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  3. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  4. Battalio, Raymond C & Kagel, John H & Jiranyakul, Komain, 1990. " Testing between Alternative Models of Choice under Uncertainty: Some Initial Results," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 25-50, March.
  5. Camerer, Colin F, 1989. " An Experimental Test of Several Generalized Utility Theories," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 61-104, April.
  6. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
  7. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  8. Hans Binswanger, 1980. "Attitudes toward risk: Experimental measurement in rural india," Artefactual Field Experiments 00009, The Field Experiments Website.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. P Brooks & H Zank, 2004. "Attitudes on Gain and Loss Lotteries: A Simple Experiment," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0402, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  2. Rick Harbaugh, 2005. "Prospect Theory or Skill Signaling?," Working Papers 2005-06, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  3. Gregory S. Berns & C. Monica Capra & Sara Moore & Charles Noussair, 2007. "A shocking experiment: New evidence on probability weighting and common ratio violations," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 2, pages 234-242, August.
  4. Horst Zank, 2010. "On probabilities and loss aversion," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 68(3), pages 243-261, March.
  5. Sujoy Chakravarty & Jaideep Roy, 2009. "Recursive expected utility and the separation of attitudes towards risk and ambiguity: an experimental study," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 66(3), pages 199-228, March.
  6. Malul, Miki & Rosenboim, Mosi & Shavit, Tal, 2013. "So when are you loss averse? Testing the S-shaped function in pricing and allocation tasks," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 101-112.
  7. Steffen Andersen & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & E. Rutström, 2009. "Elicitation using multiple price list formats," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 365-366, September.
  8. Bosch-Domènech, Antoni & Silvestre, Joaquim, 2010. "Averting risk in the face of large losses: Bernoulli vs. Tversky and Kahneman," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 180-182, May.
  9. E. Elisabet Rutstrom & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau, 2004. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 201, Econometric Society.
  10. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Joaquim Silvestre, 2006. "Risk aversion and embedding bias," Economics Working Papers 934, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. Manel Baucells & Antonio Villasís, 2010. "Stability of risk preferences and the reflection effect of prospect theory," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 68(1), pages 193-211, February.
  12. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Joaquim Silvestre, 2002. "Reflections on gains and losses: A 2x2x7 experiment," Economics Working Papers 640, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2005.

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