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Ambiguity Attitudes in a Large Representative Sample

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  • Stephen G. Dimmock

    () (Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798)

  • Roy Kouwenberg

    () (College of Management, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand; and Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 3000 DR Rotterdam, Netherlands)

  • Peter P. Wakker

    () (Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 3000 DR Rotterdam, Netherlands)

Abstract

Using a theorem showing that matching probabilities of ambiguous events can capture ambiguity attitudes, we introduce a tractable method for measuring ambiguity attitudes and apply it in a large representative sample. In addition to ambiguity aversion, we confirm an ambiguity component recently found in laboratory studies: a-insensitivity, the tendency to treat subjective likelihoods as 50-50, thus overweighting extreme events. Our ambiguity measurements are associated with real economic decisions; specifically, a-insensitivity is negatively related to stock market participation. Ambiguity aversion is also negatively related to stock market participation, but only for subjects who perceive stock returns as highly ambiguous. This paper was accepted by James Smith, decision analysis .

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen G. Dimmock & Roy Kouwenberg & Peter P. Wakker, 2016. "Ambiguity Attitudes in a Large Representative Sample," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(5), pages 1363-1380, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:62:y:2016:i:5:p:1363-1380
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2015.2198
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2015.2198
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anantanasuwong, Kanin & Kouwenberg, Roy & Mitchell, Olivia S & Peijnenburg, Kim, 2019. "Ambiguity Attitudes about Investments: Evidence from the Field," CEPR Discussion Papers 13518, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Mehmet Kutluay & Roy Brouwer & Richard S. J. Tol, 2017. "Preference updating in public health risk valuation," Working Paper Series 1517, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    3. Victor Stango & Joanne Yoong & Jonathan Zinman, 2017. "Quicksand or Bedrock for Behavioral Economics? Assessing Foundational Empirical Questions," NBER Working Papers 23625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Anna Maffioletti & Michele Santoni, 2019. "Emotion and Knowledge in Decision Making under Uncertainty," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(4), pages 1-28, September.
    5. Brice Corgnet & Camille Cornand & Nobuyuki Hanaki, 2020. "Tail events, emotions and risk taking," Working Papers halshs-02613344, HAL.
    6. Agarwal, Vikas & Arisoy, Y. Eser & Naik, Narayan Y., 2017. "Volatility of aggregate volatility and hedge fund returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(3), pages 491-510.
    7. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2019. "We Are All Behavioral, More or Less: Measuring and Using Consumer-Level Behavioral Sufficient Statistics," Working Papers 19-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 22 Feb 2019.
    8. Robin Cubitt & Gijs Kuilen & Sujoy Mukerji, 2018. "The strength of sensitivity to ambiguity," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 85(3), pages 275-302, October.
    9. Cédric Gutierrez & Thomas Åstebro & Tomasz Obloj, 2020. "The Impact of Overconfidence and Ambiguity Attitude on Market Entry," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(2), pages 308-329, March.
    10. Dmitri Vinogradov & Yousef Makhlouf, 2017. "Signaling Probabilities in Ambiguity: on the impact of vague news," Working Papers 2017_12, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    11. Dierkes, Maik & Germer, Stephan & Sejdiu, Vulnet, 2020. "Probability distortion, asset prices, and economic growth," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    12. Fairley, Kim & Weitzel, Utz, 2017. "Ambiguity and risk measures in the lab and students’ real-life borrowing behavior," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 85-98.
    13. Kocher, Martin G. & Lahno, Amrei Marie & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2018. "Ambiguity aversion is not universal," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 268-283.
    14. Baillon, Aurélien & Placido, Lætitia, 2019. "Testing constant absolute and relative ambiguity aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 309-332.
    15. Gianpaolo Parise & Kim Peijnenburg, 2017. "Understanding the determinants of financial outcomes and choices: the role of noncognitive abilities," BIS Working Papers 640, Bank for International Settlements.
    16. Müller, Julia & Li, Zhihua & Wakker, Peter P. & Wang, Tong V., 2016. "The Rich Domain of Ambiguity Explored," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145734, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    17. Oechssler, Jörg & Roomets, Alex, 2015. "A test of mechanical ambiguity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 153-162.
    18. Chen Li & Uyanga Turmunkh & Peter P. Wakker, 2019. "Trust as a decision under ambiguity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(1), pages 51-75, March.
    19. Stephen G. Dimmock & Roy Kouwenberg & Olivia S. Mitchell & Kim Peijnenburg, 2013. "Ambiguity Aversion and Household Portfolio Choice: Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 18743, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Andreas Friedl & Patrick Ring & Ulrich Schmidt, 2017. "Gender differences in ambiguity aversion under different outcome correlation structures," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 82(2), pages 211-219, February.
    21. Biener, Christian & Landmann, Andreas & Santana, Maria Isabel, 2019. "Contract nonperformance risk and uncertainty in insurance markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 65-83.
    22. Aurélien Baillon & Han Bleichrodt & Zhenxing Huang & Rogier Potter van Loon, 2017. "Measuring ambiguity attitude: (Extended) multiplier preferences for the American and the Dutch population," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 54(3), pages 269-281, June.
    23. Chen Li, 2017. "Are the poor worse at dealing with ambiguity?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 54(3), pages 239-268, June.

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