IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Loss Aversion with a State-Dependent Reference Point


  • Enrico G. De Giorgi

    () (School of Economics and Political Science, University of St. Gallen, 9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland)

  • Thierry Post

    () (Graduate School of Business, Koç University, 34450 Istanbul-Sar{\i}yer, Turkey)


This study investigates reference-dependent choice with a stochastic, state-dependent reference point. The optimal reference-dependent solution equals the optimal consumption solution (no loss aversion) if the reference point is selected fully endogenously. Given that loss aversion is widespread, we conclude that the reference point generally includes an important exogenously fixed component. We develop a choice model in which adjustment costs can cause stickiness relative to an initial, exogenous reference point. Using historical U.S. investment benchmark data, we show that this model is consistent with diversification across bonds and stocks for a wide range of evaluation horizons, despite the historically high-risk premium of stocks compared to bonds. This paper was accepted by Peter Wakker, decision analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Enrico G. De Giorgi & Thierry Post, 2011. "Loss Aversion with a State-Dependent Reference Point," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(6), pages 1094-1110, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:6:p:1094-1110

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. David E. Bell, 1983. "Risk Premiums for Decision Regret," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(10), pages 1156-1166, October.
    3. 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.
    4. Ulrich Schmidt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2008. "Third-generation prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 203-223, June.
    5. Botond Kőszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165.
    6. 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.
    7. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-824, December.
    8. Atanu Saha, 1993. "Expo-Power Utility: A ‘Flexible’ Form for Absolute and Relative Risk Aversion," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 75(4), pages 905-913.
    9. Jonathan Shalev, 2000. "Loss aversion equilibrium," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 29(2), pages 269-287.
    10. Christofides, Tasos C. & Vaggelatou, Eutichia, 2004. "A connection between supermodular ordering and positive/negative association," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 138-151, January.
    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. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2007. "Reference-Dependent Risk Attitudes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1047-1073, September.
    13. Philippe Delquié & Alessandra Cillo, 2006. "Disappointment without prior expectation: a unifying perspective on decision under risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 197-215, December.
    14. Treynor, Jack L & Black, Fischer, 1973. "How to Use Security Analysis to Improve Portfolio Selection," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 66-86, January.
    15. Kobberling, Veronika & Wakker, Peter P., 2005. "An index of loss aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 119-131, May.
    16. Abdellaoui, Mohammed & Barrios, Carolina & Wakker, Peter P., 2007. "Reconciling introspective utility with revealed preference: Experimental arguments based on prospect theory," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 356-378, May.
    17. Sugden, Robert, 2003. "Reference-dependent subjective expected utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 172-191, August.
    18. Graham Loomes & Robert Sugden, 1986. "Disappointment and Dynamic Consistency in Choice under Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(2), pages 271-282.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Guo, Dongmei & Hu, Yi & Wang, Shouyang & Zhao, Lin, 2016. "Comparing risks with reference points: A stochastic dominance approach," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 105-116.
    2. Graham Loomes & Shepley Orr & Robert Sugden, 2009. "Taste uncertainty and status quo effects in consumer choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 113-135, October.
    3. Schmidt, Ulrich & Friedl, Andreas & Lima de Miranda, Katharina, 2015. "Social comparison and gender differences in risk taking," Kiel Working Papers 2011, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    4. Carbajal, Juan Carlos & Ely, Jeffrey C., 2016. "A model of price discrimination under loss aversion and state-contingent reference points," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(2), May.
    5. repec:eee:quaeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:345-358 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    behavioral finance; asset pricing; equity premium puzzle; reference-dependent preferences; loss aversion; stochastic reference point;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments


    Access and download statistics


    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:57:y:2011:i:6:p:1094-1110. 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: .

    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.