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The Effect of Myopia and Loss Aversion on Risk Taking: An Experimental Test

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  • Richard H. Thaler
  • Amos Tversky
  • Daniel Kahneman
  • Alan Schwartz

Abstract

Myopic loss aversion is the combination of a greater sensitivity to losses than to gains and a tendency to evaluate outcomes frequently. Two implications of myopic loss aversion are tested experimentally. 1. Investors who display myopic loss aversion will be more willing to accept risks if they evaluate their investments less often. 2. If all payoffs are increased enough to eliminate losses, investors will accept more risk. In a task in which investors learn from experience, both predictions are supported. The investors who got the most frequent feedback (and thus the most information) took the least risk and earned the least money.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard H. Thaler & Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman & Alan Schwartz, 1997. "The Effect of Myopia and Loss Aversion on Risk Taking: An Experimental Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 647-661.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:2:p:647-661.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/003355397555226
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. Daniel Kahneman & Dan Lovallo, 1993. "Timid Choices and Bold Forecasts: A Cognitive Perspective on Risk Taking," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(1), pages 17-31, January.
    3. Richard H. Thaler & Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman & Alan Schwartz, 1997. "The Effect of Myopia and Loss Aversion on Risk Taking: An Experimental Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 647-661.
    4. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92.
    5. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    6. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    7. Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
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