IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/inm/ormnsc/v48y2002i10p1334-1349.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Prospect Theory: Much Ado About Nothing?

Author

Listed:
  • Moshe Levy

    () (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 91905, Israel)

  • Haim Levy

    () (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 91905, Israel)

Abstract

Prospect theory is a paradigm challenging the expected utility paradigm. One of the fundamental components of prospect theory is the S-shaped value function. The value function is mainly justified by experimental investigation of the certainty equivalents of prospects confined either to the negative or to the positive domain, but not of mixed prospects, which characterize most actual investments. We conduct an experimental study with mixed prospects, using, for the first time, recently developed investment criteria called Prospect Stochastic Dominance (PSD) and Markowitz Stochastic Dominance (MSD). We reject the S-shaped value function, showing that at least 62%--76% of the subjects cannot be characterized by such preferences. We find support for the Markowitz utility function, which is a reversed S-shaped function---exactly the opposite of the prospect theory value function. It is possible that the previous results supporting the S-shaped value function are distorted because the prospects had only positive or only negative outcomes, presenting hypothetical situations which individuals do not usually face, and which are certainly not common in financial markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Moshe Levy & Haim Levy, 2002. "Prospect Theory: Much Ado About Nothing?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(10), pages 1334-1349, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:48:y:2002:i:10:p:1334-1349
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.48.10.1334.276
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
    2. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92.
    3. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    4. G. Hanoch & H. Levy, 1969. "The Efficiency Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 335-346.
    5. J. Tobin, 1958. "Liquidity Preference as Behavior Towards Risk," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 65-86.
    6. Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
    7. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
    8. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1999. "Risk Aversion or Myopia? Choices in Repeated Gambles and Retirement Investments," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(3), pages 364-381, March.
    9. Hadar, Josef & Russell, William R, 1969. "Rules for Ordering Uncertain Prospects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 25-34, March.
    10. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "Portfolio Selection," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 7(1), pages 77-91, March.
    11. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    12. Haim Levy, 1992. "Stochastic Dominance and Expected Utility: Survey and Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 38(4), pages 555-593, April.
    13. Edwards, Kimberley D., 1996. "Prospect theory: A literature review," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 19-38.
    14. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
    15. Viscusi, W Kip, 1989. "Prospective Reference Theory: Toward an Explanation of the Paradoxes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 235-263, September.
    16. Levy, Moshe & Levy, Haim, 2001. "Testing for risk aversion: a stochastic dominance approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 233-240, May.
    17. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279-279.
    18. Levy, Haim & Wiener, Zvi, 1998. "Stochastic Dominance and Prospect Dominance with Subjective Weighting Functions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 147-163, May-June.
    19. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, 2001. "Prospect Theory and Asset Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 1-53.
    20. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 251-278, October.
    21. Hersh Shefrin & Meir Statman, 1993. "Behavioral Aspects of the Design and Marketing of Financial Products," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 22(2), Summer.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:48:y:2002:i:10:p:1334-1349. 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). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/inforea.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.