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A Test of Mechanical Ambiguity

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  • Oechssler, Jörg
  • Roomets, Alex

Abstract

We implement an experiment to elicit subjects’ ambiguity attitudes in the spirit of Ellsberg’s three-color urn. The procedure includes three design elements that (together) have not been featured in similar experiments: Strict ambiguity preferences, a single decision, and a mechanical randomization device with an unknown distribution (to both subjects and experimenters). We use this device in order to eliminate possible ‘strategic’ ambiguity related to subjects’ beliefs about the experimenters’ motivations. In addition, we survey 40 experimental studies on Ellsberg’s two- and three-color problems, and find that, on average, slightly more than half of subjects are classified as ambiguity averse. Our results, with our new design, fall on the low end of the range of results in the surveyed studies, and are comparable to a control test where “strategic” ambiguity was induced.

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  • Oechssler, Jörg & Roomets, Alex, 2014. "A Test of Mechanical Ambiguity," Working Papers 0555, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0555 Note: This paper is part of http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/view/schriftenreihen/sr-3.html
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dimmock, Stephen G. & Kouwenberg, Roy & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Peijnenburg, Kim, 2016. "Ambiguity aversion and household portfolio choice puzzles: Empirical evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(3), pages 559-577.
    2. Igor Kopylov, 2016. "Subjective probability, confidence, and Bayesian updating," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 62(4), pages 635-658, October.
    3. Werner Gueth & Maria Vittoria Levati & Chiara Nardi & Ivan Soraperra, 2014. "An ultimatum game with multidimensional response strategies," Working Papers 14/2014, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    4. M. Vittoria Levati & Stefan Napel & Ivan Soraperra, 2017. "Collective Choices Under Ambiguity," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 133-149, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ambiguity aversion; uncertainty; experiment; Ellsberg.;

    JEL classification:

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

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