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Comparing risk preferences over financial and environmental lotteries

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  • Mary Riddel

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Abstract

This paper investigates whether preferences over environmental risks are best modeled using probability-weighted utility functions or can be reasonably approximated by expected utility (EU) or subjective EU models as is typically assumed. I elicit risk attitudes in the financial and environmental domains using multiple-price list experiment. I examine how subjects’ behavioral, attitudinal, and demographic characteristics affect their probability weighting functions first for financial risks, then for oil-spill risks. I find that most subjects tend to overweight extreme positive outcomes relative to expected utility in both the environmental and financial domains. Subjects are more likely to overemphasize low probability, extreme environmental outcomes than low probability, extreme financial outcomes, leading subjects to offer more support for mitigating environmental gambles than financial gambles with the same odds and equivalent outcomes. I conclude that EU models are likely to underestimate subjects’ willingness to pay for environmental cleanup programs or policies with uncertain outcomes. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Mary Riddel, 2012. "Comparing risk preferences over financial and environmental lotteries," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 135-157, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:45:y:2012:i:2:p:135-157 DOI: 10.1007/s11166-012-9149-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Conte & Peter G. Moffatt & Mary Riddel, 2015. "Heterogeneity in risk attitudes across domains: A bivariate random preference approach," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 15-10, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    2. Christos A. Ioannou & Jana Sadeh, 2016. "Time preferences and risk aversion: Tests on domain differences," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 53(1), pages 29-54, August.
    3. Bartczak, Anna & Chilton, Susan & Meyerhoff, Jürgen, 2015. "Wildfires in Poland: The impact of risk preferences and loss aversion on environmental choices," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 300-309.
    4. Philomena Bacon & Anna Conte & Peter Moffatt, 2014. "Assortative mating on risk attitude," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(3), pages 389-401, October.
    5. Vickie Bajtelsmit & Jennifer Coats & Paul Thistle, 2015. "The effect of ambiguity on risk management choices: An experimental study," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 249-280, June.
    6. Ioannou , Christos A. & Sadeh, Jana, 2014. "Time Preferences and Risk Aversion: Tests on Domain Differences," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1422, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental risk; Cumulative prospect theory; Probability weighting; Domain specificity; Q51; D03; D81;

    JEL classification:

    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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