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Behavior, Production and Competition

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  • Just, David R.
  • Zilberman, David

Abstract

Previous studies have found underestimation of risk, or overconfidence, to be a key factor in entrepreneurship. We use a simple model of competitive equilibrium to show that an irrational under-estimation of risk provides a competitive advantage leading to a greater chance of survival under competitive pressures. Overconfidence leads to greater investment, production levels, average profit and greater variance of profits. Despite the greater variance of profits, if enough producers under-estimate their risk, they should collectively drive more rational decision-makers form the market. We illustrate a local equivalency between Kahneman and Tversky’s prospect theory model, and a subjective expected utility model with decision-makers display overconfidence. This model allows us to characterize risk attitudes through two primary effects: diminishing marginal utility of wealth (rational), and diminishing distance perception (behavioral). Diminishing distance perception is a simple measure of misperception of risk. Results from economic simulations suggest that diminishing distance perception may be a more important determinant of market behavior, and entrepreneurial success, than diminishing marginal utility of wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Just, David R. & Zilberman, David, 2005. "Behavior, Production and Competition," Working Papers 127075, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:127075
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/127075
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Just, David R. & Peterson, Hikaru Hanawa, 2003. "Expected Utility Calibration for Continuous Distributions," Working Papers 127170, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    3. David R. Just & Hikaru Hanawa Peterson, 2003. "Diminishing Marginal Utility of Wealth and Calibration of Risk in Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1234-1241.
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    6. Chew, Soo Hong, 1983. "A Generalization of the Quasilinear Mean with Applications to the Measurement of Income Inequality and Decision Theory Resolving the Allais Paradox," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1065-1092, July.
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    11. 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.
    12. Hey, John D & Orme, Chris, 1994. "Investigating Generalizations of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1291-1326, November.
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    15. Viscusi, W Kip, 1989. "Prospective Reference Theory: Toward an Explanation of the Paradoxes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 235-263, September.
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