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Loss Aversion? Not with Half-a-Million on the Table!

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  • Pavlo Blavatskyy
  • Ganna Pogrebna
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    Abstract

    In the television show Affari Tuoi a contestant is endowed with a sealed box containing a monetary prize between one cent and half a million euros. In the course of the show the contestant is offered to exchange her box for another sealed box with the same distribution of possible monetary prizes inside. This offers a unique natural laboratory for testing the predictions of expected utility theory versus prospect theory using lotteries with large stakes. While expected utility theory predicts that an individual is exactly indifferent between accepting and rejecting the exchange offer, prospect theory predicts that an individual should always reject the exchange offer due to the assumption of loss aversion. We find that the assumption of loss aversion is violated by 46 percent of all contestants in our recorded sample. Thus, contestants do not appear to be predominantly loss averse when dealing with lotteries involving large stakes.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 274.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:274

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    Keywords: loss aversion; expected utility theory; prospect theory; natural experiment;

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    Cited by:
    1. Michał Krawczyk, 2012. "To answer or not to answer? A field test of loss aversion," Ekonomia journal, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, vol. 29.
    2. Gee, C., 2007. "Risky Choice and Type-Uncertainty in "Deal or No Deal?"," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0758, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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