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Status Quo Bias, Multiple Priors and Uncertainty Aversion

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  • Ortoleva, Pietro

Abstract

Motivated by the extensive evidence about the relevance of status quo bias both in experiments and in real markets, we study this phenomenon from a decision-theoretic prospective, focusing on the case of preferences under uncertainty. We develop an axiomatic framework that takes as a primitive the preferences of the agent for each possible status quo option, and provide a characterization according to which the agent prefers her status quo act if nothing better is feasible for a given set of possible priors. We then show that, in this framework, the very presence of a status quo induces the agent to be more uncertainty averse than she would be without a status quo option. Finally, we apply the model to a financial choice problem and show that the presence of status quo bias as modeled here might induce the presence of a risk premium even with risk neutral agents.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 12243.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:12243

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Keywords: Status quo bias; Ambiguity Aversion; Endowment Effect; Risk Premium;

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References

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  1. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  2. Truman F. Bewley, 1986. "Knightian Decision Theory: Part 1," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 807, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Masatlioglu, Yusufcan & Ok, Efe A., 2005. "Rational choice with status quo bias," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 1-29, March.
  4. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Mercè Roca & Robin Hogarth & A. Maule, 2006. "Ambiguity seeking as a result of the status quo bias," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 175-194, May.
  6. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
  7. Tomasz Strzalecki, 2011. "Axiomatic Foundations of Multiplier Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 47-73, 01.
  8. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  9. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
  10. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini, 2006. "Ambiguity Aversion, Robustness, and the Variational Representation of Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1447-1498, November.
  11. Hartman, Raymond S & Doane, Michael J & Woo, Chi-Keung, 1991. "Consumer Rationality and the Status Quo," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 141-62, February.
  12. Thomas J. Sargent & LarsPeter Hansen, 2001. "Robust Control and Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 60-66, May.
  13. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
  14. Sagi, Jacob S., 2006. "Anchored preference relations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 283-295, September.
  15. Sugden, Robert, 2003. "Reference-dependent subjective expected utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 172-191, August.
  16. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  17. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Stoye, Jörg, 2011. "Axioms for minimax regret choice correspondences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(6), pages 2226-2251.
  2. Ghossoub, Mario, 2011. "Towards a Purely Behavioral Definition of Loss Aversion," MPRA Paper 37628, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 23 Mar 2012.
  3. Georgios Gerasimou, 2013. "A Behavioural Model of Choice in the Presence of Decision Conflict," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201302, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
  4. Mandler, Michael, 2014. "Indecisiveness in behavioral welfare economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 219-235.
  5. Daniele Pennesi, 2013. "Endogenous Status Quo," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 314, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  6. Gerasimou, Georgios, 2012. "Asymmetric Dominance, Deferral and Status Quo Bias in a Theory of Choice with Incomplete Preferences," MPRA Paper 40097, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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