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Salience Theory of Choice Under Risk

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  • Pedro Bordalo
  • Nicola Gennaioli
  • Andrei Shleifer

Abstract

We present a theory of choice among lotteries in which the decision maker's attention is drawn to (precisely defined) salient payoffs. This leads the decision maker to a context-dependent representation of lotteries in which true probabilities are replaced by decision weights distorted in favor of salient payoffs. By endogenizing decision weights as a function of payoffs, our model provides a novel and unified account of many empirical phenomena, including frequent risk-seeking behavior, invariance failures such as the Allais paradox, and preference reversals. It also yields new predictions, including some that distinguish it from Prospect Theory, which we test. We also use the model to modify the standard asset pricing framework, and use that application to explore the well-known growth/value anomaly in finance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16387.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16387

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  1. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-77, September.
  2. Grether, David M & Plott, Charles R, 1979. "Economic Theory of Choice and the Preference Reversal Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 623-38, September.
  3. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  4. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2009. "What Comes to Mind," NBER Working Papers 15084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Camerer, Colin F & Ho, Teck-Hua, 1994. "Violations of the Betweenness Axiom and Nonlinearity in Probability," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 167-96, March.
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