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Binary Lottery Payoffs: Do They Control Risk Aversion?

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  • Vesna Prasnikar
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    Abstract

    Considerable evidence has accumulated which shows that the choice behavior of individuals exhibits systematic departures from expected utility maximization. The focus of the paper is to develop some measures of the extent to which utility maximization nevertheless remains a useful approximation. We do this by considering the extent to which individual choice behavior can be controlled, in the manner predicted by expected utility theory, by experimental designs which employ binary lottery payoffs in the manner of Roth and Malouf (1979) and Berg et al. (1986). The results of this study suggest that the gross features of risk preference can be reliably implemented, albeit with a non-negligible amount of error. Some errors were found to be systematic and can be attributed to subjects who did not know how to calculate the expected probbility of winning the prize in a compound binary lottery. The knowledge of compound lotteries also played the role in determinint which funcitonal forms are easier to induce.

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    Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1059.

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    Date of creation: Aug 1993
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    Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1059

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    1. Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-79, May.
    2. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
    3. Kreps, David M. & Porteus, Evan L., 1979. "Temporal von neumann-morgenstern and induced preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 81-109, February.
    4. Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1987. ""Preference Reversal' and the Observability of Preferences by Experimental Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 675-85, May.
    5. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
    6. Binswanger, Hans P, 1981. "Attitudes toward Risk: Theoretical Implications of an Experiment in Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 867-90, December.
    7. Machina, Mark J, 1985. "Stochastic Choice Functions Generated from Deterministic Preferences over Lotteries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(379), pages 575-94, September.
    8. 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.
    9. Plott, Charles R. & Sunder, Shyam., . "Efficiency of Experimental Security Markets with Insider Information: An Application of Rational Expectations Models," Working Papers 331, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    10. Machina, Mark J, 1982. ""Expected Utility" Analysis without the Independence Axiom," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 277-323, March.
    11. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1952. "The Expected-Utility Hypothesis and the Measurability of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60, pages 463.
    12. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
    13. 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.
    14. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1981. "Qualitative Response Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1483-1536, December.
    15. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1971. "Increasing risk II: Its economic consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 66-84, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. John Van Huyck & Frederick Rankin & Raymond Battalio, 1999. "What Does it Take to Eliminate the use of a Strategy Strictly Dominated by a Mixture?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 129-150, December.
    2. Schotter, Andrew & Yorulmazer, Tanju, 2009. "On the dynamics and severity of bank runs: An experimental study," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 217-241, April.
    3. Sabater-Grande, Gerardo & Georgantzis, Nikolaos, 2002. "Accounting for risk aversion in repeated prisoners' dilemma games: an experimental test," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 37-50, May.
    4. Agranov, Marina & Tergiman, Chloe, 2013. "Incentives and compensation schemes: An experimental study," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 238-247.

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