Choice of utility function form: its effect on classification of risk preferences and the prediction of farmer decisions
In applications of expected utility analysis, researchers are confronted with a choice among several utility functional forms. Subjective utility values and probability distributions for price and yield were elicited from Sri Lankan producers of minor export crops. Exponential quadratic and cubic utility functions were estimated. The choice of functional form was found to affect both the classification of risk attitudes and the prediction of harvesting strategy. The exponential function was the best predictor of harvesting strategy because it was the best predictor of mature harvesting. All three functions were equally poor predictors of premature harvesting.
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