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An experimental methodology testing for prudence and third-order preferences

  • Sebastian Ebert

    ()

  • Daniel Wiesen

    ()

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    We propose an experimental method to test individuals for prudence (i.e. downside risk aversion) outside the expected utility framework. Our method relies on a novel representation of compound lotteries which allows for a systematic parameterization that captures the full generality of prudence. Therefore, we develop a general technique for lottery calibration in experiments. Since we investigate a very subtle third-order property we test our method in the laboratory employing a factorial design. We find that it yields robust results and that prudence is observed on the aggregate as well as on the individual level. Further we show that preferences based on statistical moments, in particular skewness seeking, can at most approximately explain individuals' behavior in the experiment.

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    File URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-bonn.de/bgsepapers/bonedp/bgse21_2009.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse21_2009.

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    Length: 45
    Date of creation: Sep 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse21_2009
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
    Fax: +49 228 73 6884
    Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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    1. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
    2. Louis Eeckhoudt & Harris Schlesinger, 2005. "Putting Risk in its Proper Place," CESifo Working Paper Series 1462, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. CRAINICH, Davida & EECKHOUDT, Louis, . "On the intensity of downside risk aversion," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2061, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
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    7. Mao, James C T, 1970. "Survey of Capital Budgeting: Theory and Practice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 349-60, May.
    8. Menezes, C & Geiss, C & Tressler, J, 1980. "Increasing Downside Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 921-32, December.
    9. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2005. "Optimal Life-Cycle Asset Allocation: Understanding the Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 869-904, 04.
    10. Patrick L. Brockett & Yehuda Kahane, 1992. "Risk, Return, Skewness and Preference," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 38(6), pages 851-866, June.
    11. Louis Eeckhoudt & Christian Gollier, 2005. "The impact of prudence on optimal prevention," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 989-994, November.
    12. Walter Briec & Kristiaan Kerstens & Octave Jokung, 2005. "Mean-Variance-Skewness Portfolio Performance Gauging: A General Shortage Function and Dual Approach," Working Papers 2005-ECO-05, IESEG School of Management.
    13. Camerer, Colin F, 1989. " An Experimental Test of Several Generalized Utility Theories," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 61-104, April.
    14. Christophe Courbage & Béatrice Rey, 2006. "Prudence and optimal prevention for health risks," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(12), pages 1323-1327.
    15. Patrick Roger, 2008. "Mixed Risk Aversion and Preference for Risk Disaggregation," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2008-17, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.
    16. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
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