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

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

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.

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Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0528.

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Date of creation: 21 Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0528
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  1. Yoram Halevy, 2007. "Ellsberg Revisited: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 503-536, 03.
  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. Jurgen Eichberger & Simon Grant & David Kelsey, 2006. "Updating Choquet Beliefs," Discussion Papers 0607, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  4. Schnedler, Wendelin & Dominiak, Adam, 2008. "Uncertainty Aversion and Preference for Randomization," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-39, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  5. 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.
  6. Eichberger, J. & Kelsey, D., 1995. "Uncertainty Aversion and Preferences for Randomisation," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 476, The University of Melbourne.
  7. 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.
  8. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7324 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. 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.
  10. James C. Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj & Ulrich Schmidt, 2011. "Paradoxes and Mechanisms for Choice under Risk," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2011-07, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Mar 2014.
  11. 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.
  12. Dominiak, Adam & Duersch, Peter & Lefort, Jean-Philippe, 2012. "A dynamic Ellsberg urn experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 625-638.
  13. Eichberger, J. & Kelsey, D., 1993. "Uncertainty Aversion and Dynamic Consistency," Discussion Papers 93-08, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
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