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Ambiguity Attitudes and Social Interactions: An Experimental Investigation

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  • Gary Charness
  • Edi Karni
  • Dan Levin

Abstract

This paper reports the results of experiments designed to test (a) whether and to what extent individuals display non-neutral ambiguity attitudes in their choice behavior and (b) if and how do ambiguity attitudes change as a result of interpersonal interactions and persuasion. To address the first question we designed and conducted experiments involving individual choice between betting on ambiguous and unambiguous events of their choice. We found that a large majority of subjects display ambiguity-neutral attitudes, many others display ambiguity-incoherent attitudes, and few subjects display either ambiguity-averse attitudes or ambiguity-seeking attitudes. To address the second question we introduced a new experimental design with a built-in incentive to persuade. We found that interpersonal interactions without incentive to persuade have no effect on behavior, but when incentives were introduced, the ambiguity-neutral subjects were better able to persuade ambiguity seeking and ambiguity-incoherent subjects to follow ambiguity-neutral choice behavior. No such influence was detected with respect to ambiguity-neutral subjects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number 590.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:590

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  1. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  2. Gary Charness & Uri Gneezy, 2010. "Portfolio Choice And Risk Attitudes: An Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 133-146, 01.
  3. Akay, Alpaslan & Martinsson, Peter & Medhin, Haileselassie & Trautmann, Stefan, 2010. "Attitudes Toward Uncertainty Among the Poor: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," Discussion Papers dp-10-04-efd, Resources For the Future.
  4. Gary Charness & Edi Karni & Dan Levin, 2007. "Individual and group decision making under risk: An experimental study of Bayesian updating and violations of first-order stochastic dominance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 129-148, October.
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  14. Charness, Gary & Karni, Edi & Levin, Dan, 2010. "On the conjunction fallacy in probability judgment: New experimental evidence regarding Linda," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 551-556, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Lahno, Amrei M., 2014. "Social anchor effects in decision-making under ambiguity," Discussion Papers in Economics 20960, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. David Cooper & David Johnson, 2013. "Ambiguity in Performance Pay: An Online Experiment," Working Papers 2013-27, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 14 Nov 2013.
  3. Seda Ertac & Mehmet Y. Gurdal, 2013. "Preference Communication and Leadership in Group Decision-Making," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1324, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  4. Oechssler, Jörg & Roomets, Alex, 2014. "Unintended hedging in ambiguity experiments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 243-246.
  5. Spiros Bougheas & Jeroen Nieboer & Martin Sefton, 2013. "Risk-taking in social settings: Group and peer effects," Discussion Papers 2013-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  6. Oechssler, Jörg & Roomets, Alex, 2014. "A Test of Mechanical Ambiguity," Working Papers 0555, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  7. Ralf Bergheim & Michael W.M. Roos, 2013. "Intuition and Reasoning in Choosing Ambiguous and Risky Lotteries," Ruhr Economic Papers 0440, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  8. Ken Binmore & Lisa Stewart & Alex Voorhoeve, 2012. "How much ambiguity aversion?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 215-238, December.
  9. Keck, Steffen & Diecidue, Enrico & Budescu, David V., 2014. "Group decisions under ambiguity: Convergence to neutrality," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 60-71.

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