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Stochastic expected utility theory

  • Pavlo Blavatskyy

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    This paper proposes a new decision theory of how individuals make random errors when they compute the expected utility of risky lotteries. When distorted by errors, the expected utility of a lottery never exceeds (falls below) the utility of the highest (lowest) outcome. This assumption implies that errors are likely to overvalue (undervalue) lotteries with expected utility close to the utility of the lowest (highest) outcome. Proposed theory explains many stylized empirical facts such as the fourfold pattern of risk attitudes, common consequence effect (Allais paradox), common ratio effect and violations of betweenness. Theory fits the data from ten well-known experimental studies at least as well as cumulative prospect theory. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11166-007-9009-6
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 259-286

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:34:y:2007:i:3:p:259-286
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100299

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    1. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "The Utility of Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60, pages 151.
    2. Machina, Mark J, 1985. "Stochastic Choice Functions Generated from Deterministic Preferences over Lotteries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(379), pages 575-94, September.
    3. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
    4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
    5. Blavatskyy, Pavlo R., 2006. "Violations of betweenness or random errors?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 34-38, April.
    6. Wu, George, 1994. "An Empirical Test of Ordinal Independence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 39-60, July.
    7. 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.
    8. Pavlo R. Blavatskyy, 2006. "Stochastic Choice Under Risk," IEW - Working Papers 272, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    9. Loomes, Graham & Moffatt, Peter G & Sugden, Robert, 2002. " A Microeconometric Test of Alternative Stochastic Theories of Risky Choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 103-30, March.
    10. John Hey, 2005. "Why We Should Not Be Silent About Noise," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 325-345, December.
    11. Camerer, Colin F & Ho, Teck-Hua, 1994. "Violations of the Betweenness Axiom and Nonlinearity in Probability," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 167-96, March.
    12. Ballinger, T Parker & Wilcox, Nathaniel T, 1997. "Decisions, Error and Heterogeneity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1090-1105, July.
    13. Machina, Mark J, 1982. ""Expected Utility" Analysis without the Independence Axiom," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 277-323, March.
    14. John Hey, . "Does Repetition Improve Consistency?," Discussion Papers 99/28, Department of Economics, University of York.
    15. George Wu & Richard Gonzalez, 1996. "Curvature of the Probability Weighting Function," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(12), pages 1676-1690, December.
    16. Hey, John D. & Carbone, Enrica, 1995. "Stochastic choice with deterministic preferences: An experimental investigation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 161-167, February.
    17. Conlisk, John, 1989. "Three Variants on the Allais Example," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 392-407, June.
    18. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1998. "Testing Different Stochastic Specifications of Risky Choice," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(260), pages 581-98, November.
    19. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-61, April.
    20. Hey, John D., 1995. "Experimental investigations of errors in decision making under risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 633-640, April.
    21. Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1989. " Probability and Juxtaposition Effects: An Experimental Investigation of the Common Ratio Effect," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 159-78, June.
    22. 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.
    23. Uri Gneezy & John A List & George Wu, 2006. "The Uncertainty Effect: When a Risky Prospect Is Valued Less Than Its Worst Possible Outcome," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1283-1309, November.
    24. Camerer, Colin F, 1989. " An Experimental Test of Several Generalized Utility Theories," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 61-104, April.
    25. Quiggin, John & Horowitz, John, 1995. "Time and Risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 37-55, January.
    26. 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.
    27. Bernasconi, Michele, 1994. "Nonlinear Preferences and Two-Stage Lotteries: Theories and Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(422), pages 54-70, January.
    28. Battalio, Raymond C & Kagel, John H & Jiranyakul, Komain, 1990. " Testing between Alternative Models of Choice under Uncertainty: Some Initial Results," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 25-50, March.
    29. 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.
    30. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
    31. Carbone, Enrica & Hey, John D, 2000. " Which Error Story Is Best?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 161-76, March.
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