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Inducing Risk Neutral Preferences with Binary Lotteries: A Reconsideration

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  • Glenn W. Harrison
  • Jimmy Martínez-Correa
  • J. Todd Swarthout

Abstract

We evaluate the binary lottery procedure for inducing risk neutral behavior. We strip the experimental implementation down to bare bones, taking care to avoid any potentially confounding assumption about behavior having to be made. In particular, our evaluation does not rely on the assumed validity of any strategic equilibrium behavior, or even the customary independence axiom. We show that subjects sampled from our population are generally risk averse when lotteries are defined over monetary outcomes, and that the binary lottery procedure does indeed induce a statistically significant shift towards risk neutrality. This striking result generalizes to the case in which subjects make several lottery choices and one is selected for payment.

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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 2012-02.

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Length: 54
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2012-02

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  1. 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.
  2. Cooper, Russell, et al, 1992. "Communication in Coordination Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 739-71, May.
  3. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1989. "Communication in the Battle of the Sexes Game: Some Experimental Results," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(4), pages 568-587, Winter.
  4. Robin Cubitt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1998. "On the Validity of the Random Lottery Incentive System," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 115-131, September.
  5. Walker, James M & Smith, Vernon L & Cox, James C, 1990. " Inducing Risk-Neutral Preferences: An Examination in a Controlled Market Environment," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 5-24, March.
  6. Braunstein, Yale M & Schotter, Andrew, 1982. "Labor Market Search: An Experimental Study," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(1), pages 133-44, January.
  7. Harrison, Glenn W, 1989. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 749-62, September.
  8. Berg, Joyce E. & Rietz, Thomas A. & Dickhaut, John W., 2008. "On the Performance of the Lottery Procedure for Controlling Risk Preferences," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
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  10. James C. Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj & Ulrich Schmidt, 2011. "Paradoxes and Mechanisms for Choice under Risk," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2011-07, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Mar 2014.
  11. Harrison, Glenn W & McCabe, Kevin A, 1996. "Expectations and Fairness in a Simple Bargaining Experiment," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 303-27.
  12. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1985. "Experimental Development of Sealed-Bid Auction Theory: Calibrating Controls for Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 160-65, May.
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  14. Uzi Segal, 2000. "Two Stage Lotteries Without the Reduction Axiom," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7599, David K. Levine.
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  16. Segal, Uzi, 1988. "Does the Preference Reversal Phenomenon Necessarily Contradict the Independence Axiom?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 233-36, March.
  17. Reinhard Selten & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Klaus Abbink, 1999. "Money Does Not Induce Risk Neutral Behavior, but Binary Lotteries Do even Worse," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 213-252, June.
  18. Ochs, Jack & Roth, Alvin E, 1989. "An Experimental Study of Sequential Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 355-84, June.
  19. Harrison, Glenn W & Rutstrom, E E, 1991. "Trade Wars, Trade Negotiations and Applied Game Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(406), pages 420-35, May.
  20. Rietz, Thomas A, 1993. " Implementing and Testing Risk-Preference-Induction Mechanisms in Experimental Sealed-Bid Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 199-213, October.
  21. Berg, Joyce E, et al, 1986. "Controlling Preferences for Lotteries on Units of Experimental Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 281-306, May.
  22. Wilcox, Nathaniel T., 2011. "'Stochastically more risk averse:' A contextual theory of stochastic discrete choice under risk," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 162(1), pages 89-104, May.
  23. Cooper, Russell & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1993. "Forward Induction in the Battle-of-the-Sexes Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1303-16, December.
  24. Cox, James C & Oaxaca, Ronald L, 1995. "Inducing Risk-Neutral Preferences: Further Analysis of the Data," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 65-79, July.
  25. Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1991. "Does the Random-Lottery Incentive System Elicit True Preferences? An Experimental Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 971-78, September.
  26. Harrison, Glenn W, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1426-43, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Karl Schlag & James Tremewan & Joel van der Weele, 2014. "A Penny for Your Thoughts:A Survey of Methods for Eliciting Beliefs," Vienna Economics Papers 1401, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  2. Glenn W. Harrison & Jimmy Martínez-Correa & J. Todd Swarthout, 2012. "Eliciting Subjective Probabilities with Binary Lotteries," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2012-16, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  3. Glenn W. Harrison & Jimmy Martínez-Correa & J. Todd Swarthout & Eric R. Ulm, 2013. "Scoring Rules for Subjective Probability Distributions," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2013-05, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.

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