IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Social context and the utility of wealth: Addressing the Markowitz challenge

  • Coelho, Philip R. P.
  • McClure, James E.

The expected utility hypothesis has a long successful tradition in economics. However, behavioral anomalies confound it when utility depends solely on the absolute level of wealth. Harry Markowitz (1952) suggested that the anomalies might be resolved if utility could be augmented to endogenize the taste for wealth in a non-tautological manner. This paper addresses Markowitz’s challenge. We augment the Markowitz utility function with arguments that have roots in the theory of natural selection: peer wealth, and status. Our specification yields testable implications about gambling, insuring and peer selection, and yields an explanation of the Allais paradox.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V8F-3V5MPT8-N/2/778907a55ac7f5217698bf64d825668a
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 37 (1998)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 305-314

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:37:y:1998:i:3:p:305-314
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ng Yew Kwang, 1965. "Why do People Buy Lottery Tickets? Choices Involving Risk and the Indivisibility of Expenditure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 530.
  2. Viscusi, W Kip, 1989. " Prospective Reference Theory: Toward an Explanation of the Paradoxes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 235-63, September.
  3. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  4. Machina, Mark J, 1982. ""Expected Utility" Analysis without the Independence Axiom," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 277-323, March.
  5. Bailey, Martin J & Olson, Mancur & Wonnacott, Paul, 1980. "The Marginal Utility of Income Does not Increase: Borrowing, Lending, and Friedman-Savage Gambles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 372-79, June.
  6. Safra, Zvi & Segal, Uzi & Spivak, Avia, 1990. "Preference Reversal and Nonexpected Utility Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 923-30, September.
  7. 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 1065-92, July.
  8. Landsberger, Michael & Meilijson, Isaac, 1990. "Lotteries, insurance, and star-shaped utility functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-17, October.
  9. Flemming, J S, 1969. "The Utility of Wealth and the Utility of Windfalls," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(105), pages 55-66, January.
  10. Karni, E. & Safra, Z., 1988. "Rank-Dependent Probabilities," Papers 11-88, Tel Aviv.
  11. Fershtman, C. & Weiss, Y., 1991. "Social Status , Culture and Economic Performance," Papers 32-91, Tel Aviv.
  12. Frank, Robert H, 1985. "The Demand for Unobservable and Other Nonpositional Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 101-16, March.
  13. Hey, John D & Orme, Chris, 1994. "Investigating Generalizations of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1291-1326, November.
  14. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
  15. Hakansson, Nils H, 1970. "Friedman-Savage Utility Functions Consistent with Risk Aversion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 472-87, August.
  16. Fishburn, Peter C., 1983. "Transitive measurable utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 293-317, December.
  17. Becker, Gary S, 1976. "Altruism, Egoism, and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 817-26, September.
  18. Coelho, Philip R P & McClure, James E, 1993. "Toward an Economic Theory of Fashion," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(4), pages 595-608, October.
  19. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
  20. Jack Hirshleifer, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," UCLA Economics Working Papers 087, UCLA Department of Economics.
  21. Gregory, Nathaniel, 1980. "Relative Wealth and Risk Taking: A Short Note on the Friedman-Savage Utility Function," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(6), pages 1226-30, December.
  22. Benartzi, Shlomo & Thaler, Richard H, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92, February.
  23. Jack Hirshleifer, 1978. "Natural Economy Versus Political Economy," UCLA Economics Working Papers 129, UCLA Department of Economics.
  24. Karni, Edi & Schmeidler, David, 1986. "Self-preservation as a foundation of rational behavior under risk," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 71-81, March.
  25. Machina, Mark J, 1989. "Dynamic Consistency and Non-expected Utility Models of Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1622-68, December.
  26. Conlisk, John, 1989. "Three Variants on the Allais Example," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 392-407, June.
  27. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-93, Nov.-Dec..
  28. Neilson William S., 1994. "Second Price Auctions without Expected Utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 136-151, February.
  29. Frank, Robert H, 1984. "Are Workers Paid Their Marginal Products?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 549-71, September.
  30. Rubin, Paul H & Paul, Chris W, II, 1979. "An Evolutionary Model of Taste for Risk," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(4), pages 585-96, October.
  31. Robson, Arthur J, 1992. "Status, the Distribution of Wealth, Private and Social Attitudes to Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 837-57, July.
  32. Rogers, Alan R, 1994. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 460-81, June.
  33. Jack Hirshleifer, 1978. "Natural Economy Versus Political Economy," UCLA Economics Working Papers 114, UCLA Department of Economics.
  34. MacDonald, Don N & Kagel, John H & Battalio, Raymond C, 1991. "Animals' Choices over Uncertain Outcomes: Further Experimental Results," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1067-84, September.
  35. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "The Utility of Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60, pages 151.
  36. Knetsch, Jack L, 1995. "Asymmetric Valuation of Gains and Losses and Preference Order Assumptions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(1), pages 134-41, January.
  37. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
  38. Eden, Benjamin, 1979. "On aversion to positive risks and preference for negative risks," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 125-129.
  39. Waldman, Michael, 1994. "Systematic Errors and the Theory of Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 482-97, June.
  40. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  41. Basu, Kaushik, 1989. "A Theory of Association: Social Status, Prices and Markets," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 653-71, October.
  42. Friedman, Daniel, 1989. "The S-Shaped Value Function as a Constrained Optimum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1243-48, December.
  43. Machina, Mark J, 1987. "Choice under Uncertainty: Problems Solved and Unsolved," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 121-54, Summer.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:37:y:1998:i:3:p:305-314. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.