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Joint measurement of risk aversion, prudence, and temperance

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  • Sebastian Ebert

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  • Daniel Wiesen

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Abstract

Risk aversion—but also the higher-order risk preferences of prudence and temperance—are fundamental concepts in the study of economic decision making. We propose a method to jointly measure the intensity of risk aversion, prudence, and temperance. Our theoretical approach is to define risk compensations of different orders, and in an experiment we elicit these compensations with a price list technique. We find evidence for risk aversion, prudence, and temperance. These traits correlate within subjects. The compensations elicited for prudence are significantly larger than those for risk aversion and temperance. In contrast to commonly used utility functions, prospect theory can predict this behavioral pattern. In our experiment, risk-averse, risk-loving, and risk-neutral subjects are prudent. This supports a recent theoretical observation that prudence may be a more universal trait than previously realized. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Ebert & Daniel Wiesen, 2014. "Joint measurement of risk aversion, prudence, and temperance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 231-252, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:48:y:2014:i:3:p:231-252 DOI: 10.1007/s11166-014-9193-0
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    3. Breaban, Adriana & van de Kuilen, Gijs & Noussair, Charles, 2016. "Prudence, Personality, Cognitive Ability and Emotional State," Discussion Paper 2016-030, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Gerhardt, Holger & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Willrodt, Jana, 2017. "Does self-control depletion affect risk attitudes?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 463-487.
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    6. Durmaz, Tunç, 2016. "Precautionary Storage in Electricity Markets," Discussion Papers 2016/5, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    7. Heinrich, Timo & Mayrhofer, Thomas, 2014. "Higher-order Risk Preferences in Social Settings - An Experimental Analysis," Ruhr Economic Papers 508, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    8. Marco Sahm, 2017. "Risk Aversion and Prudence in Contests," CESifo Working Paper Series 6417, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Ebert, Sebastian, 2015. "On skewed risks in economic models and experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 85-97.
    10. Timo Heinrich & Thomas Mayrhofer, 2014. "Higher-order Risk Preferences in Social Settings - An Experimental Analysis," Ruhr Economic Papers 0508, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
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    12. Louis R. Eeckhoudt & Roger J. A. Laeven & Harris Schlesinger, 2017. "Risk Apportionment: The Dual Story," Papers 1712.02182, arXiv.org.
    13. Ñíguez, Trino-Manuel & Paya, Ivan & Peel, David, 2016. "Pure higher-order effects in the portfolio choice model," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 255-260.
    14. Schleich, Joachim & Gassmann, Xavier & Faure, Corinne & Meissner, Thomas, 2016. "Making the implicit explicit: A look inside the implicit discount rate," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 321-331.
    15. Kocher, Martin G. & Pahlke, Julius & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2015. "An experimental study of precautionary bidding," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 27-38.
    16. AJ A. Bostian & Christoph Heinzel, 2016. "Consumption Smoothing and Precautionary Saving under Recursive Preferences," FOODSECURE Working papers 44, LEI Wageningen UR.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Decision making under risk; Experiment; Prospect theory; Prudence; Risk aversion; Risk-loving; Temperance; C91; D81;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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