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How Certain Is the Uncertainty Effect?

  • Ondrej Rydval
  • Andreas Ortmann
  • Sasha Prokosheva
  • Ralph Hertwig

We replicate three pricing tasks of Gneezy, List and Wu (2006) for which they document the so-called uncertainty effect, namely, that people value a binary lottery over non-monetary outcomes less than other people value the lottery’s worse outcome. While the authors implemented a verbal lottery description, we use a physical lottery format which makes misinterpretation of the lottery structure highly unlikely. We also provide subjects with complete information about the goods they are to value (book gift certificates and one-year deferred payments). Contrary to Gneezy et al. (2006), we observe for all three pricing tasks that subjects’ willingness to pay for the lottery is significantly higher than other subjects’ willingness to pay for the lottery’s worse outcome.

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Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp385.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp385
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  1. Glenn W Harrison & John A List & Charles Towe, 2007. "Naturally Occurring Preferences and Exogenous Laboratory Experiments: A Case Study of Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 433-458, 03.
  2. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Uri Gneezy & John A List & George Wu, 2006. "The Uncertainty Effect: When a Risky Prospect Is Valued Less Than Its Worst Possible Outcome," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1283-1309, November.
  4. Steffen Anderson & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & Rutstrom Elisabet, 2007. "Valuation using multiple price list formats," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(6), pages 675-682.
  5. repec:feb:framed:0074 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Grether, David M & Plott, Charles R, 1979. "Economic Theory of Choice and the Preference Reversal Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 623-38, September.
  7. Horowitz, John K., 2006. "The Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism is not necessarily incentive compatible, even for non-random goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 6-11, October.
  8. Harrison, Glenn W. & Rutström, E. Elisabet, 2008. "Experimental Evidence on the Existence of Hypothetical Bias in Value Elicitation Methods," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
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