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Flexible Approximation of Subjective Expectations using Probability Questions -An Application to the Investment Game-

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  • Charles Bellemare
  • Luc Bissonnette
  • Sabine Kroger

Abstract

We use spline interpolation to approximate the subjective cumulative distribution function of an economic agent over the future realization of a continuous (possibly censored) random variable. The method proposed exploits information collected using a small number of probability questions on expectations and requires a weak prior knowledge of the shape of the underlying distribution. We find that eliciting 4 or 5 points on the cumulative distribution function of an agent is sufficient to accurately approximate a wide variety of underlying distributions. We show that estimated moments of general functions of the random variable can be computed analytically and/or using standard simulation techniques. We illustrate the usefulness of the method by estimating a simple model to asses the impact of expectations on investment decisions in a commonly used trust game.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0734.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0734

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Keywords: Approximation of subjective expectations; spline interpolation; decision making under uncertainty;

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  1. Magnac & Thesmar, 2002. "Identifying dynamic discrete decision processes," Working Papers 155888, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  2. Joseph Engelberg & Charles F. Manski & Jared Williams, 2006. "Comparing the Point Predictions and Subjective Probability Distributions of Professional Forecasters," NBER Working Papers 11978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2007. "A land of milk and honey with streets paved with gold : do emigrants have over-optimistic expectations about incomes abroad ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4141, The World Bank.
  4. Engelmann,Dirk & Strobel,Martin, 2002. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," Research Memorandum 015, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
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  6. Yaw Nyarko & Andrew Schotter, 2002. "An Experimental Study of Belief Learning Using Elicited Beliefs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 971-1005, May.
  7. Bellemare, Charles & Kröger, Sabine & van Soest, Arthur, 2005. "Actions and Beliefs: Estimating Distribution-Based Preferences Using a Large Scale Experiment with Probability Questions on Expectations," IZA Discussion Papers 1666, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
  9. Oxoby, Robert J. & McLeish, Kendra N., 2004. "Sequential decision and strategy vector methods in ultimatum bargaining: evidence on the strength of other-regarding behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 399-405, September.
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  13. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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  15. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869, August.
  16. Abigail Barr, 2003. "Trust and expected trustworthiness: experimental evidence from zimbabwean villages," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 614-630, 07.
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Cited by:
  1. Charles Bellemare & Luc Bissonnette & Sabine Kröger, 2010. "Bounding preference parameters under different assumptions about beliefs: a partial identification approach," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 334-345, September.

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