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An expected utility maximizer walks into a bar..

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  • Daniel Burghart

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  • Paul Glimcher
  • Stephanie Lazzaro

Abstract

We conducted field experiments at a bar to test whether blood alcohol concentration (BAC) correlates with violations of the generalized axiom of revealed preference (GARP) and the independence axiom. We found that individuals with BACs well above the legal limit for driving adhere to GARP and independence at rates similar to those who are sober. This finding led to the fielding of a third experiment to explore how risk preferences might vary as a function of BAC. We found gender-specific effects: Men did not exhibit variations in risk preferences across BACs. In contrast, women were more risk averse than men at low BACs but exhibited increasing tolerance towards risks as BAC increased. Based on our estimates, men and women’s risk preferences are predicted to be identical at BACs nearly twice the legal limit for driving. We discuss the implications for policy-makers. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Burghart & Paul Glimcher & Stephanie Lazzaro, 2013. "An expected utility maximizer walks into a bar..," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 215-246, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:46:y:2013:i:3:p:215-246
    DOI: 10.1007/s11166-013-9167-7
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    Cited by:

    1. Sam Cosaert & Thomas Demuynck, 2015. "Revealed preference theory for finite choice sets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 59(1), pages 169-200, May.
    2. Marco Castillo & David L. Dickinson & Ragan Petrie, 2017. "Sleepiness, choice consistency, and risk preferences," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 82(1), pages 41-73, January.
    3. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Cabrales, Antonio & Mateu, Guillermo & Sánchez, Angel & Sutan, Angela, 2018. "Does pre-play social interaction improve negotiation outcomes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 13417, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. E. Cettolin & P. S. Dalton & W. J. Kop & W. Zhang, 2020. "Cortisol meets GARP: the effect of stress on economic rationality," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(2), pages 554-574, June.
    5. Matej Opatrny, 2018. "Extent of Irrationality of the Consumer: Combining the Critical Cost Eciency and Houtman Maks Indices," Working Papers IES 2018/11, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Apr 2018.
    6. Stephanie C Lazzaro & Robb B Rutledge & Daniel R Burghart & Paul W Glimcher, 2016. "The Impact of Menstrual Cycle Phase on Economic Choice and Rationality," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 11(1), pages 1-15, January.
    7. Bedi, Gillinder & Burghart, Daniel R., 2018. "Is utility maximization compromised by acute intoxication with THC or MDMA?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 128-132.
    8. Frank Schilbach, 2019. "Alcohol and Self-Control: A Field Experiment in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(4), pages 1290-1322, April.
    9. L. Corazzini & A. Filippin & P. Vanin, 2014. "Economic Behavior under Alcohol Influence: An Experiment on Time, Risk, and Social Preferences," Working Papers wp944, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    10. Rodolfo Garcia Sierra & Álvaro Zerda Sarmiento, 2017. "Caracterización de la función de valor empleada en las decisiones ambientales por las grandes organizaciones: Estudio de los grandes proyectos hidroeléctricos en Colombia," Revista Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Militar Nueva Granada, vol. 26(1), pages 69-91, December.
    11. Daniel R. Burghart, 2020. "The two faces of independence: betweenness and homotheticity," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 88(4), pages 567-593, May.
    12. Frank Sloan & Lindsey Eldred, 2015. "Do preferences of drinker-drivers differ?," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 241-268, June.
    13. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D & Combs, T. Dalton & Kodaverdian, Niree, 2015. "Consistency in Simple vs. Complex Choices over the Life Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 10457, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. van Bruggen, Paul & Heufer, Jan, 2017. "Afriat in the lab," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 546-550.
    15. Drichoutis, Andreas C. & Nayga, Rodolfo, 2017. "Economic rationality under cognitive load," MPRA Paper 81111, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Klajdi Bregu & Cary Deck & Lindsay Ham & Salar Jahedi, 2017. "The Effects of Alcohol Use on Economic Decision Making," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 83(4), pages 886-902, April.
    17. Jianxin Wang & Daniel Houser, 2019. "An Economic Analysis of Business Drinking: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-field Experiment," Working Papers 1074, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    18. Luca Corazzini & Antonio Filippin & Paolo Vanin, 2015. "Economic Behavior under the Influence of Alcohol: An Experiment on Time Preferences, Risk-Taking, and Altruism," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(4), pages 1-25, April.
    19. Yiqun Chen & Frank Sloan, 2014. "Subjective Beliefs, Deterrence, and the Propensity to Drive While Intoxicated," NBER Working Papers 20680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D. & Combs, T. Dalton & Kodaverdian, Niree, 2019. "Consistency in simple vs. complex choices by younger and older adults," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 580-601.
    21. Rodolfo Garcia Sierra & Alvaro Zerda Sarmiento, 2016. "Hydropower Megaprojects in Colombia and the Influence of Local Communities: A View from Prospect Theory to Decision Making Process based on Expert Judgment used in Large Organizations," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 6(3), pages 408-420.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rationality; Expected utility theory; Risk aversion; Field experiment; Alcohol; D01; D81; C93;

    JEL classification:

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

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