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Do Trade Union Leaders Violate Subjective Expected Utility? Some Insights From Experimental Data

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  • Anna Maffioletti

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  • Michele Santoni

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Abstract

This paper presents the results of two experiments designed to test violations of Subjective Expected Utility Theory (SEUT) within a sample of Italian trade union delegates and leaders. Subjects priced risky and ambiguous prospects in the domain of gains. Risky prospects were based on games of chance, while ambiguous prospects were built on the standard Ellsberg paradox and on event lotteries whose outcomes were based either on the results of a fictional election or on the future results of the 1999 European Parliamentary election in Italy and the U.K. The experiments show that, although risky prospects were priced at their expected values on average, trade union delegates and leaders did violate SEUT when assessing ambiguous prospects. Moreover, their behaviour depended on the source of uncertainty (Ellsberg paradox vs. electoral results; fictional vs. real election; Italy vs. U.K. election outcomes). We discuss the implications of these results for the economic theory of the trade union. Copyright Springer 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Maffioletti & Michele Santoni, 2005. "Do Trade Union Leaders Violate Subjective Expected Utility? Some Insights From Experimental Data," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 59(3), pages 207-253, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:59:y:2005:i:3:p:207-253
    DOI: 10.1007/s11238-005-8633-3
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    Cited by:

    1. Akay, Alpaslan & Martinsson, Peter & Medhin, Haileselassie & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2009. "Attitudes toward Uncertainty among the Poor: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," IZA Discussion Papers 4225, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Laure Cabantous, 2007. "Ambiguity Aversion in the Field of Insurance: Insurers’ Attitude to Imprecise and Conflicting Probability Estimates," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 62(3), pages 219-240, May.
    3. Anna MAFFIOLETTI & Michele SANTONI, 2007. "Emotions, competence and confidence in choice under uncertainty," Departmental Working Papers 2007-31, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    4. Jean Desrochers & J. Francois Outreville, 2013. "Uncertainty, Ambiguity and Risk Taking: an experimental investigation of consumer behavior and demand for insurance," ICER Working Papers 10-2013, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
    5. Menachem Brenner & Yehuda Izhakian, 2011. "Asset Priving and Ambiguity: Empirical Evidence," Working Papers 11-10, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    6. Oechssler, Jörg & Roomets, Alex, 2015. "A test of mechanical ambiguity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 153-162.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ambiguity; Ellsberg’s paradox; trade unions; D81; J51;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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