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Starting points' effects on risk-taking behavior

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  • Schade, Christian
  • Steul, Martina
  • Schröder, Andreas
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    Abstract

    We formally represent the effects of prior gains and losses in a simple dynamic preference calculus based on prospect theory�s value function and thoughts adapted from aspiration level theories. We investigate our predictions in questionnaire experiments. Since we document a strong effect of prior gains and losses in our main study on entrepreneurial decision making, findings are consistent with a difference between the actual status quo and temporarily invariant aspiration levels. However, the general level of willingness to pay (WTP), differences between gain and loss domains, and preference orders within the gain domain are inconsistent with prospect theory's prediction. In the loss domain, results are less straightforward but only interpretable on the joint basis of prospect theory, starting point formula, and an additional survival point. Altogether, results are a challenge to prescriptive as well as descriptive models of decision making relying on context-independent value functions. Implications for a further development of descriptive decision theoretic models based on aspiration levels to account for dynamic starting points effects are discussed. --

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes in its series SFB 373 Discussion Papers with number 2002,15.

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    Date of creation: 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200215

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    1. Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
    2. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
    3. Unser, Matthias, 2000. "Lower partial moments as measures of perceived risk: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 253-280, June.
    4. Fiegenbaum, Avi, 1990. "Prospect theory and the risk-return association : An empirical examination in 85 industries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 187-203, October.
    5. Shefrin, Hersh & Statman, Meir, 1985. " The Disposition to Sell Winners Too Early and Ride Losers Too Long: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 777-90, July.
    6. Weber, Martin & Camerer, Colin F., 1998. "The disposition effect in securities trading: an experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 167-184, January.
    7. Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
    8. 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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