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Putting Risk in its Proper Place


  • Louis Eeckhoudt
  • Harris Schlesinger


This paper examines preferences towards particular classes of lottery pairs. We show how concepts such as prudence and temperance can be fully characterized by a preference relation over these lotteries. If preferences are defined in an expected-utility framework with differentiable utility, the direction of preference for a particular class of lottery pairs is equivalent to signing the nth derivative of the utility function. What makes our characterization appealing is its simplicity, which seems particularly amenable to experimentation.

Suggested Citation

  • Louis Eeckhoudt & Harris Schlesinger, 2005. "Putting Risk in its Proper Place," CESifo Working Paper Series 1462, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1462

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    14. Lajeri-Chaherli, Fatma, 2004. "Proper prudence, standard prudence and precautionary vulnerability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 29-34, January.
    15. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Gollier, Christian & Schlesinger, Harris, 1996. "Changes in Background Risk and Risk-Taking Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 683-689, May.
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    19. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
    20. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Gollier, Christian & Schneider, Thierry, 1995. "Risk-aversion, prudence and temperance: A unified approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 331-336, June.
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    More about this item


    properness; prudence; risk apportionment; risk aversion; stochastic dominance; temperance; utility premium;

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