IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v103y2013i6p2499-2529.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Nature of Risk Preferences: Evidence from Insurance Choices

Author

Listed:
  • Levon Barseghyan
  • Francesca Molinari
  • Ted O'Donoghue
  • Joshua C. Teitelbaum

Abstract

We use data on insurance deductible choices to estimate a structural model of risky choice that incorporates "standard" risk aversion (diminishing marginal utility for wealth) and probability distortions. We find that probability distortions?characterized by substantial overweighting of small probabilities and only mild insensitivity to probability changes?play an important role in explaining the aversion to risk manifested in deductible choices. This finding is robust to allowing for observed and unobserved heterogeneity in preferences. We demonstrate that neither K?szegi-Rabin loss aversion alone nor Gul disappointment aversion alone can explain our estimated probability distortions, signifying a key role for probability weighting.

Suggested Citation

  • Levon Barseghyan & Francesca Molinari & Ted O'Donoghue & Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 2013. "The Nature of Risk Preferences: Evidence from Insurance Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2499-2529, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:6:p:2499-2529
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.6.2499
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.103.6.2499
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/oct2013/20110834_data.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/oct2013/20110834_app.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/ds/oct2013/20110834_ds.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Iuliana Pascu & Mark R. Cullen, 2012. "How General Are Risk Preferences? Choices under Uncertainty in Different Domains," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2606-2638, October.
    2. Syngjoo Choi & Raymond Fisman & Douglas Gale & Shachar Kariv, 2007. "Consistency and Heterogeneity of Individual Behavior under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1921-1938, December.
    3. Loomes, Graham & Moffatt, Peter G & Sugden, Robert, 2002. "A Microeconometric Test of Alternative Stochastic Theories of Risky Choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 103-130, March.
    4. Botond Kőszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165.
    5. Lattimore, Pamela K. & Baker, Joanna R. & Witte, Ann D., 1992. "The influence of probability on risky choice: A parametric examination," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 377-400, May.
    6. Erik Snowberg & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Explaining the Favorite-Long Shot Bias: Is it Risk-Love or Misperceptions?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 723-746, August.
    7. J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), 2007. "Handbook of Econometrics," Handbook of Econometrics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 6, number 6a.
    8. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
    9. John D. Hey & Chris Orme, 2018. "Investigating Generalizations Of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Experiments in Economics Decision Making and Markets, chapter 3, pages 63-98, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Quang Nguyen & Colin Camerer & Tomomi Tanaka, 2010. "Risk and Time Preferences Linking Experimental and Household Data from Vietnam," Post-Print halshs-00547090, HAL.
    11. Alma Cohen & Peter Siegelman, 2010. "Testing for Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(1), pages 39-84, March.
    12. Adrian Bruhin & Helga Fehr-Duda & Thomas Epper, 2010. "Risk and Rationality: Uncovering Heterogeneity in Probability Distortion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1375-1412, July.
    13. Matzkin, Rosa L, 1991. "Semiparametric Estimation of Monotone and Concave Utility Functions for Polychotomous Choice Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1315-1327, September.
    14. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521766555.
    15. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-1289, November.
    16. Tomomi Tanaka & Colin F. Camerer & Quang Nguyen, 2010. "Risk and Time Preferences: Linking Experimental and Household Survey Data from Vietnam," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 557-571, March.
    17. Jaap H. Abbring & Pierre-André Chiappori & Jean Pinquet, 2003. "Moral Hazard and Dynamic Insurance Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 767-820, June.
    18. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    19. David E. Bell, 1985. "Disappointment in Decision Making Under Uncertainty," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 33(1), pages 1-27, February.
    20. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    21. Cicchetti, Charles J & Dubin, Jeffrey A, 1994. "A Microeconometric Analysis of Risk Aversion and the Decision to Self-Insure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 169-186, February.
    22. Kliger, Doron & Levy, Ori, 2009. "Theories of choice under risk: Insights from financial markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 330-346, August.
    23. Jaap H. Abbring & James J. Heckman & Pierre-André Chiappori & Jean Pinquet, 2003. "Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard In Insurance: Can Dynamic Data Help to Distinguish?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 512-521, 04/05.
    24. Thierry Post & Martijn J. van den Assem & Guido Baltussen & Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 38-71, March.
    25. William Fellner, 1961. "Distortion of Subjective Probabilities as a Reaction to Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 670-689.
    26. Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2007. "Estimating Risk Preferences from Deductible Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 745-788, June.
    27. J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), 2007. "Handbook of Econometrics," Handbook of Econometrics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 6, number 6b.
    28. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    29. Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanie, 2000. "Estimating Preferences under Risk: The Case of Racetrack Bettors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 503-530, June.
    30. Drazen Prelec, 1998. "The Probability Weighting Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 497-528, May.
    31. 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.
    32. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
    33. Levon Barseghyan & Jeffrey Prince & Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 2011. "Are Risk Preferences Stable across Contexts? Evidence from Insurance Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 591-631, April.
    34. Matthew Rabin & Richard H. Thaler, 2001. "Anomalies: Risk Aversion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 219-232, Winter.
    35. Pamela K. Lattimore & Joanna R. Baker & A. Dryden Witte, 1992. "The Influence Of Probability on Risky Choice: A parametric Examination," NBER Technical Working Papers 0081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Louis Anthony Cox Jr. & Weihsueh A. Chiu & David M. Hassenzahl & Daniel M. Kammen, 2000. "Response," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 20(3), pages 295-296, June.
    37. Chen, Xiaohong, 2007. "Large Sample Sieve Estimation of Semi-Nonparametric Models," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 76, Elsevier.
    38. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-333, March.
    39. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-587, May.
    40. Daniel McFadden & Kenneth Train, 2000. "Mixed MNL models for discrete response," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(5), pages 447-470.
    41. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1995. "Incorporating a stochastic element into decision theories," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 641-648, April.
    42. Graham Loomes & Robert Sugden, 1986. "Disappointment and Dynamic Consistency in Choice under Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(2), pages 271-282.
    43. Amit Gandhi & Ricardo Serrano-Padial, 2015. "Does Belief Heterogeneity Explain Asset Prices: The Case of the Longshot Bias," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 156-186.
    44. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang, 2008. "Stocks as Lotteries: The Implications of Probability Weighting for Security Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2066-2100, December.
    45. Daniel Ellsberg, 1961. "Risk, Ambiguity, and the Savage Axioms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 643-669.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Jakusch, Sven Thorsten, 2017. "On the applicability of maximum likelihood methods: From experimental to financial data," SAFE Working Paper Series 148, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    2. Ariane Charpin, 2018. "Tests des modèles de décision en situation de risque. Le cas des parieurs hippiques en France," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 69(5), pages 779-803.
    3. Luís Santos-Pinto & Adrian Bruhin & José Mata & Thomas Åstebro, 2015. "Detecting heterogeneous risk attitudes with mixed gambles," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 79(4), pages 573-600, December.
    4. Galarza, Francisco, 2009. "Choices under Risk in Rural Peru," MPRA Paper 17708, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Jakusch, Sven Thorsten & Meyer, Steffen & Hackethal, Andreas, 2019. "Taming models of prospect theory in the wild? Estimation of Vlcek and Hens (2011)," SAFE Working Paper Series 146, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    6. Andersen, Steffen & Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten Igel & Rutström, Elisabet E., 2010. "Behavioral econometrics for psychologists," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 553-576, August.
    7. Andre Palma & Moshe Ben-Akiva & David Brownstone & Charles Holt & Thierry Magnac & Daniel McFadden & Peter Moffatt & Nathalie Picard & Kenneth Train & Peter Wakker & Joan Walker, 2008. "Risk, uncertainty and discrete choice models," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 269-285, December.
      • André de Palma & Moshe Ben-Akiva & David Brownstone & Charles Holt & Thierry Magnac & Daniel McFadden & Peter Moffatt & Nathalie Picard & Kenneth Train & Peter Wakker & Joan Walker, 2008. "Risk, Uncertainty and Discrete Choice Models," THEMA Working Papers 2008-02, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    8. Laurent Denant-Boemont & Olivier L’Haridon, 2013. "La rationalité à l'épreuve de l'économie comportementale," Revue française d'économie, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(2), pages 35-89.
    9. Thomas Epper & Helga Fehr-Duda, 2012. "The missing link: unifying risk taking and time discounting," ECON - Working Papers 096, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2018.
    10. B. Douglas Bernheim & Charles Sprenger, 2020. "On the Empirical Validity of Cumulative Prospect Theory: Experimental Evidence of Rank‐Independent Probability Weighting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(4), pages 1363-1409, July.
    11. Epper, Thomas & Fehr-Duda, Helga, 2017. "A Tale of Two Tails: On the Coexistence of Overweighting and Underweighting of Rare Extreme Events," Economics Working Paper Series 1705, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    12. Stephen G Dimmock & Roy Kouwenberg & Olivia S Mitchell & Kim Peijnenburg, 2021. "Household Portfolio Underdiversification and Probability Weighting: Evidence from the Field," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 34(9), pages 4524-4563.
    13. Egil Matsen & Bjarne Strøm, 2006. "Joker: Choice in a simple game with large stakes," Working Paper Series 8307, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    14. Peter Brooks & Simon Peters & Horst Zank, 2014. "Risk behavior for gain, loss, and mixed prospects," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(2), pages 153-182, August.
    15. Gigi Foster & Paul Frijters & Markus Schaffner & Benno Torgler, 2013. "Expectation Formation in an Evolving Game of Uncertainty: Theory and New Experimental Evidence," CREMA Working Paper Series 2013-19, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    16. Yao Kpegli & Brice Corgnet & Adam Zylbersztejn, 2020. "All at Once! A Comprehensive and Tractable Semi-Parametric Method to Elicit Prospect Theory Components," Working Papers halshs-03016517, HAL.
    17. Gijs van de Kuilen & Peter P. Wakker, 2011. "The Midweight Method to Measure Attitudes Toward Risk and Ambiguity," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(3), pages 582-598, March.
    18. Martina Nardon & Paolo Pianca, 2019. "Behavioral premium principles," Decisions in Economics and Finance, Springer;Associazione per la Matematica, vol. 42(1), pages 229-257, June.
    19. Anna Conte & Peter G Moffatt & Mary Riddel, 2019. "The Multivariate Random Preference Estimatorfor Switching Multiple Price List Data," University of East Anglia School of Economics Working Paper Series 2019-04, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    20. Martina Nardon & Paolo Pianca, 2019. "European option pricing under cumulative prospect theory with constant relative sensitivity probability weighting functions," Computational Management Science, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 249-274, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. The Nature of Risk Preferences: Evidence from Insurance Choices (AER 2013) in ReplicationWiki

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:6:p:2499-2529. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.