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An experimental test of loss aversion and scale compatibility

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  • Han Bleichrodt
  • José Luis Pinto
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    Abstract

    This paper studies two important reasons why people violate procedure invariance, loss aversion and scale compatibility. The paper extends previous research on loss aversion and scale compatibility by studying loss aversion and scale compatibility simultaneously, by looking at a new decision domain, medical decision analysis, and by examining the effect of loss aversion and scale compatibility on "well-contemplated preferences." We find significant evidence both of loss aversion and scale compatibility. However, the sizes of the biases due to loss aversion and scale compatibility vary over trade-offs and most participants do not behave consistently according to loss aversion or scale compatibility. In particular, the effect of loss aversion in medical trade-offs decreases with duration. These findings are encouraging for utility measurement and prescriptive decision analysis. There appear to exist decision contexts in which the effects of loss aversion and scale compatibility can be minimized and utilities can be measured that do not suffer from these distorting factors.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.upf.edu/docs/papers/downloads/467.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 467.

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    Date of creation: May 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:467

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    Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

    Related research

    Keywords: Decision analysis; utility theory; loss aversion; scale compatibility; health;

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    1. Shalev, Jonathan, 1997. "Loss aversion in a multi-period model," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 203-226, June.
    2. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-48, December.
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    7. Philippe Delquié, 1993. "Inconsistent Trade-Offs Between Attributes: New Evidence in Preference Assessment Biases," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(11), pages 1382-1395, November.
    8. Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Working Papers 1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    9. Jones-Lee, Michael W & Loomes, Graham & Philips, P R, 1995. "Valuing the Prevention of Non-fatal Road Injuries: Contingent Valuation vs. Standard Gambles," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(4), pages 676-95, October.
    10. 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.
    11. Payne, John W & Bettman, James R & Schkade, David A, 1999. "Measuring Constructed Preferences: Towards a Building Code," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 243-70, December.
    12. Beattie, Jane & Loomes, Graham, 1997. "The Impact of Incentives upon Risky Choice Experiments," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 155-68, March.
    13. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S251-78, October.
    14. Drazen Prelec, 1998. "The Probability Weighting Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 497-528, May.
    15. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
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