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Rejecting small gambles under expected utility

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  • Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio
  • Serrano, Roberto

Abstract

This paper contributes to an important recent debate around expected utility and risk aversion. Rejecting a gamble over a given range of wealth levels imposes a lower bound on risk aversion. Using this lower bound and empirical evidence on the range of the risk aversion coefficient, we calibrate the relationship between risk attitudes over small-stakes and large-stakes gambles. We find that rejecting small gambles is consistent with expected utility, contrary to a recent literature that concludes that expected utility is fundamentally unfit to explain decisions under uncertainty. Paradoxical behavior is only obtained when calibrations are made in a region of the parameter space that is not empirically relevant.
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Suggested Citation

  • Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio & Serrano, Roberto, 2006. "Rejecting small gambles under expected utility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 250-259, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:91:y:2006:i:2:p:250-259
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    JEL classification:

    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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