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How do people cope with an ambiguous situation when it becomes even more ambiguous?

Author

Listed:
  • Eichberger, Jürgen
  • Oechssler, Jörg
  • Schnedler, Wendelin

Abstract

As illustrated by the famous Ellsberg paradox, many subjects prefer to bet on events with known rather than with unknown probabilities, i.e., they are ambiguity averse. In an experiment, we examine subjects’ choices when there is an additional source of ambiguity, namely, when they do not know how much money they can win. Using a standard independence assumption, we show that ambiguity averse subjects should continue to strictly prefer the urn with known probabilities. In contrast, our results show that many subjects no longer exhibit such a strict preference. This should have important ramifications for modeling ambiguity aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Eichberger, Jürgen & Oechssler, Jörg & Schnedler, Wendelin, 2012. "How do people cope with an ambiguous situation when it becomes even more ambiguous?," Working Papers 0528, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0528
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dominiak, Adam & Duersch, Peter & Lefort, Jean-Philippe, 2012. "A dynamic Ellsberg urn experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 625-638.
    2. Hendon, Ebbe & Jacobsen, Hans Jorgen & Sloth, Birgitte & Tranaes, Torben, 1996. "The product of capacities and belief functions," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 95-108, October.
    3. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
    4. Cohen, M. & Gilboa, I. & Jaffray, J.Y. & Schmeidler, D., 2000. "An experimental study of updating ambiguous beliefs," Risk, Decision and Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 123-133, June.
    5. Eichberger, Jurgen & Kelsey, David, 1996. "Uncertainty Aversion and Dynamic Consistency," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(3), pages 625-640, August.
    6. James Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj & Ulrich Schmidt, 2015. "Paradoxes and mechanisms for choice under risk," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(2), pages 215-250, June.
    7. Eichberger, Jurgen & Kelsey, David, 1996. "Uncertainty Aversion and Preference for Randomisation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 31-43, October.
    8. Schnedler, Wendelin & Dominiak, Adam, 2008. "Uncertainty aversion and preference for randomization," Papers 08-39, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    9. Eichberger, Jurgen & Grant, Simon & Kelsey, David, 2007. "Updating Choquet beliefs," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(7-8), pages 888-899, September.
    10. Sjaak Hurkens & Navin Kartik, 2009. "Would I lie to you? On social preferences and lying aversion," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(2), pages 180-192, June.
    11. Yoram Halevy, 2007. "Ellsberg Revisited: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 503-536, March.
    12. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7324 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Christoph Vanberg, 2008. "Why Do People Keep Their Promises? An Experimental Test of Two Explanations -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1467-1480, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Kelsey & Sara Roux, 2015. "An experimental study on the effect of ambiguity in a coordination game," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 79(4), pages 667-688, December.
    2. 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 aversion; uncertainty; minmax-expected utility;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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