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Why people choose negative expected return assets - an empirical examination of a utility theoretic explanation

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  • Thomas A. Garrett
  • Nalinaksha Bhattacharyya

Abstract

Using a theoretical extension of the Friedman and Savage (1948) utility function developed in Bhattacharyya (2003), we predict that for financial assets with negative expected returns, expected return will be a declining and convex function of skewness. Using a sample of U.S. state lottery games, we find that our theoretical conclusions are supported by the data. Our results have external validity as they also hold for an alternative and more aggregated sample of lottery game data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2006-014.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2006-014

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  1. Roger Hartley & Lisa Farrell, 1998. "Can Expected Utility Theory Explain Gambling?," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 98/02, Department of Economics, Keele University.
  2. Donkers, Bas & Melenberg, Bertrand & Van Soest, Arthur, 2001. " Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries: A Large Sample Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 165-95, March.
  3. Kearney, Melissa Schettini, 2005. "State lotteries and consumer behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2269-2299, December.
  4. Quiggin, John, 1991. "On the Optimal Design of Lotteries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(229), pages 1-16, February.
  5. McEnally, Richard W, 1974. "A Note on the Return Behavior of High Risk Common Stocks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 29(1), pages 199-202, March.
  6. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
  7. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  8. Bailey, Martin J & Olson, Mancur & Wonnacott, Paul, 1980. "The Marginal Utility of Income Does not Increase: Borrowing, Lending, and Friedman-Savage Gambles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 372-79, June.
  9. Garrett, Thomas A. & Sobel, Russell S., 1999. "Gamblers favor skewness, not risk: Further evidence from United States' lottery games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 85-90, April.
  10. Kraus, Alan & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1976. "Skewness Preference and the Valuation of Risk Assets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1085-1100, September.
  11. Ali, Mukhtar M, 1977. "Probability and Utility Estimates for Racetrack Bettors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(4), pages 803-15, August.
  12. Joseph Golec & Maurry Tamarkin, 1998. "Bettors Love Skewness, Not Risk, at the Horse Track," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 205-225, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Eichner, Thomas & Wagener, Andreas, 2011. "Increases in skewness and three-moment preferences," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 109-113, March.

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