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Rejecting Small Gambles Under Expected Utility

Author

Listed:
  • Ignacio Palacios-Huerta

    () (Department of Economics, Brown University)

  • Roberto Serrano

    () (Department of Economics, Brown University)

  • Oscar Volij

    () (Department of Economics, Iowa State University)

Abstract

This paper contributes to an important recent debate around expected utility and risk aversion. Rejecting a gamble over a given range of wealth levels imposes a lower bound on risk aversion. Using this lower bound and empirical evidence on the range of the risk aversion coefficient, we calibrate the relationship between risk attitudes over small-stakes and large-stakes gambles. We find that rejecting small gambles is consistent with expected utility, contrary to a recent literature that concludes that expected utility is fundamentally unfit to explain decisions under uncertainty. Paradoxical behavior is only obtained when calibrations are made in a region of the parameter space that is not empirically relevant.

Suggested Citation

  • Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Roberto Serrano & Oscar Volij, 2003. "Rejecting Small Gambles Under Expected Utility," Economics Working Papers 0032, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:ads:wpaper:0032
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk Aversion; Expected Utility;

    JEL classification:

    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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