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Risk aversion and expected-utility theory: A calibration exercise

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  • Laura Schechter

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Abstract

Rabin (Econometrica 68(5):1281–1292, 2000 ) argues that, under expected-utility, observed risk aversion over modest stakes implies extremely high risk aversion over large stakes. Cox and Sadiraj (Games Econom. Behav. 56(1):45–60, 2006 ) have replied that this is a problem of expected-utility of wealth, but that expected-utility of income does not share that problem. We combine experimental data on moderate-scale risky choices with survey data on income to estimate coefficients of relative risk aversion using expected-utility of consumption. Assuming individuals cannot save implies an average coefficient of relative risk aversion of 1.92. Assuming they can decide between consuming today and saving for the future, a realistic assumption, implies quadruple-digit coefficients. This gives empirical evidence for narrow bracketing. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Schechter, 2007. "Risk aversion and expected-utility theory: A calibration exercise," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 67-76, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:35:y:2007:i:1:p:67-76
    DOI: 10.1007/s11166-007-9017-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Expected utility theory; Asset integration; Risk aversion; Experiments; Paraguay; D01; D81; O1; C93;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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