IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Bias in Utility Assessments: Further Evidence and Explanations

Listed author(s):
  • Eric J. Johnson

    (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)

  • David A. Schkade

    (College of Business Administration, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712)

Registered author(s):

    Judgments about simple gambles, such as those used in utility assessment, can generate sizable and systematic bias. After Hershey and Schoemaker (Hershey, J. C., P. J. H. Schoemaker. 1985. Probability vs. certainty equivalence methods in utility measurement: Are they equivalent? Management Sci. 31 1213--1231.), we employ both the probability and certainty equivalence methods to explore bias. Our results show that: (1) the direction and degree of bias depend on characteristics of the assessment gamble such as the reference probability and the difference between outcomes, (2) presenting subjects with explicit anchors can change the size and direction of the bias, and (3) subjects using heuristic response strategies show significantly more bias than those using expectation strategies. We also discuss the status of possible explanations for the bias, in light of these new results, including PE mode reframing, random error, and anchoring and adjustment.

    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:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 35 (1989)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 406-424

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:35:y:1989:i:4:p:406-424
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA

    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    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:inm:ormnsc:v:35:y:1989:i:4:p:406-424. 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: (Mirko Janc)

    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.