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Consistency and Heterogeneity of Individual Behavior under Uncertainty

Author

Listed:
  • Syngjoo Choi
  • Raymond Fisman
  • Douglas Gale
  • Shachar Kariv

Abstract

By using graphical representations of simple portfolio choice problems, we generate a very rich dataset to study behavior under uncertainty at the level of the individual subject. We test the data for consistency with the maximization hypothesis, and we estimate preferences using a two-parameter utility function based on Faruk Gul (1991). This specification provides a good interpretation of the data at the individual level and can account for the highly heterogeneous behaviors observed in the laboratory. The parameter estimates jointly describe attitudes toward risk and allow us to characterize the distribution of risk preferences in the population. (JEL D11, D14, D81, G11)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:97:y:2007:i:5:p:1921-1938
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.5.1921
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chew, Soo Hong, 1983. "A Generalization of the Quasilinear Mean with Applications to the Measurement of Income Inequality and Decision Theory Resolving the Allais Paradox," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1065-1092, July.
    2. Dekel, Eddie, 1986. "An axiomatic characterization of preferences under uncertainty: Weakening the independence axiom," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 304-318, December.
    3. Daniels, Richard L & Keller, L Robin, 1990. "An Experimental Evaluation of the Descriptive Validity of Lottery-Dependent Utility Theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 115-134, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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