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Multiattribute Utility Theory, Intertemporal Utility, And Correlation Aversion


  • Steffen Andersen
  • Glenn W. Harrison
  • Morten I. Lau
  • E. Elisabet Rutström


Convenient assumptions about qualitative properties of the intertemporal utility function have generated counterintuitive implications for the relationship between atemporal risk aversion and the intertemporal elasticity of substitution. If the intertemporal utility function is additively separable, then the latter two concepts are the inverse of each other. We review a theoretical specification with a long lineage in the literature on multi†attribute utility and use this theoretical structure to guide the design of a series of experiments that allow us to identify and estimate intertemporal correlation aversion. Our results show that subjects are correlation averse over lotteries with intertemporal income profiles.

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  • Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2018. "Multiattribute Utility Theory, Intertemporal Utility, And Correlation Aversion," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(2), pages 537-555, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:iecrev:v:59:y:2018:i:2:p:537-555
    DOI: 10.1111/iere.12279

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    Cited by:

    1. Gangadharan, Lata & Harrison, Glenn W. & Leroux, Anke D., 2019. "Are risks over multiple attributes traded off? A case study of aid," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 166-198.
    2. Stephen L. Cheung, 2020. "Eliciting utility curvature in time preference," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(2), pages 493-525, June.
    3. Jaramillo, Miguel & López Vargas, Kristian, 2019. "Interpersonal comparisons and risk attitudes: An artefactual field experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 16-18.
    4. Holden, Stein T. & Tilahun, Mesfin, 2019. "How related are risk preferences and time preferences?," CLTS Working Papers 4/19, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, revised 16 Oct 2019.
    5. Pavlo Blavatskyy, 2020. "Expected discounted utility," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 88(2), pages 297-313, March.
    6. Schosser, Josef, 2019. "Consistency between principal and agent with differing time horizons: Computing incentives under risk," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 277(3), pages 1113-1123.
    7. Glenn W. Harrison, 2019. "The behavioral welfare economics of insurance," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 44(2), pages 137-175, September.

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