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The Rich Domain of Uncertainty: Source Functions and Their Experimental Implementation

  • Mohammed Abdellaoui
  • Aurelien Baillon
  • Laetitia Placido
  • Peter P. Wakker

We often deal with uncertain events for which no probabilities are known. Several normative models have been proposed. Descriptive studies have usually been qualitative, or they estimated ambiguity aversion through one single number. This paper introduces the source method, a tractable method for quantitatively analyzing uncertainty empirically. The theoretical key is the distinction between different sources of uncertainty, within which subjective (choice-based) probabilities can still be defined. Source functions convert those subjective probabilities into willingness to bet. We apply our method in an experiment, where we do not commit to particular ambiguity attitudes but let the data speak. (JEL D81)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 695-723

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:2:p:695-723
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  1. Luce, R. Duncan, 1991. "Rank- and sign-dependent linear utility models for binary gambles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 75-100, February.
  2. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Han Bleichrodt & Olivier L’Haridon, 2008. "A tractable method to measure utility and loss aversion under prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 245-266, June.
  3. Carmela Di Mauro & Anna Maffioletti, 2001. "The Valuation of Insurance under Uncertainty: Does Information about Probability Matter?," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 26(3), pages 195-224, December.
  4. Enrico Diecidue & Peter Wakker & Marcel Zeelenberg, 2007. "Eliciting decision weights by adapting de Finetti’s betting-odds method to prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 179-199, June.
  5. Thibault Gajdos & Takashi Hayashi & Jean-Marc Tallon & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2006. "Attitude toward imprecise information," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques v06081, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  6. Fox, Craig R & Tversky, Amos, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion and Comparative Ignorance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 585-603, August.
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  9. Chateauneuf, Alain & Eichberger, Jürgen & Grant, Simon, 2003. "Choice under Uncertainty with the Best and Worst in Mind: Neo-additive Capacities," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 03-10, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  10. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Ambiguity Aversion, Robustness, and the Variational Representation of Preferences," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 12, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2006.
  11. 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.
  12. Halevy, Yoram, 2005. "Ellsberg Revisited: an Experimental Study," Microeconomics.ca working papers halevy-05-07-26-11-51-13, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 25 Feb 2014.
  13. Chew Soo Hong & Jacob S. Sagi, 2006. "Event Exchangeability: Probabilistic Sophistication Without Continuity or Monotonicity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(3), pages 771-786, 05.
  14. George Wu & Richard Gonzalez, 1999. "Nonlinear Decision Weights in Choice Under Uncertainty," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(1), pages 74-85, January.
  15. Fox, Craig R & Rogers, Brett A & Tversky, Amos, 1996. "Options Traders Exhibit Subadditive Decision Weights," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 5-17, July.
  16. Kyoungwon Seo, 2009. "Ambiguity and Second-Order Belief," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1575-1605, 09.
  17. Michael Kilka & Martin Weber, 2001. "What Determines the Shape of the Probability Weighting Function Under Uncertainty?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(12), pages 1712-1726, December.
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  19. William Neilson, 2010. "A simplified axiomatic approach to ambiguity aversion," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 113-124, October.
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