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Salience, Framing, and Decisions under Risk, Uncertainty, and Time

Author

Listed:
  • Jonathan W. Leland

    (Division of Social and Economic Sciences, National Science Foundation)

  • Mark Schneider

    (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)

Abstract

We propose a comparative model of decision making under risk, uncertainty, and time, in which large differences in payoffs and probabilities or dates of receipt are perceived as salient and overweighted in the evaluation process. The predictions of the model depend on what differences are compared across alternatives which, in turn, depends on how the choice is framed. We formalize a class of matrix-based frames which applies to decisions under risk, uncertainty, and time, and we specify two important types of frames within this class: minimal frames which provide the simplest representation of choice alternatives, and transparent frames which make the normative appeal of the classical rationality axioms more transparent. We also propose two simple and natural assumptions regarding the perceived salience of differences in numerical magnitudes. We show that the model predicts systematic framing effects in which people will exhibit major violations of rational choice theory (the Allais paradox, common ratio effect, Ellsberg paradox, present bias, and violations of stochastic dominance) when the options are represented in a minimal frame but will behave more consistently with the classical axioms when the same choices are presented in a transparent frame. The model employs the same salience-based decision algorithm across the domains of risk, uncertainty, and time, thus providing a unified approach to explaining choice anomalies as decision errors. Moreover, because it maintains the assumption that preferences obey expected and discounted utility, it facilitates traditional welfare analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan W. Leland & Mark Schneider, 2016. "Salience, Framing, and Decisions under Risk, Uncertainty, and Time," Working Papers 16-08, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:16-08
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Schneider & Jonathan W. Leland & Nathaniel T. Wilcox, 2018. "Ambiguity framed," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 57(2), pages 133-151, October.
      • Mark Schneider & Jonathan Leland & Nathaniel T. Wilcox, 2016. "Ambiguity Framed," Working Papers 16-11, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    2. Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus & Wenzel, Tobias, 2019. "Focusing and framing of risky alternatives," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 289-304.
    3. Jonathan W. Leland & Mark Schneider & Jonathan Leland, 2016. "Axioms for Salience Perception," Working Papers 16-15, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    4. Nathaniel T. Wilcox, 2017. "Random expected utility and certainty equivalents: mimicry of probability weighting functions," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(2), pages 161-173, December.
    5. Königsheim, C. & Lukas, M. & Nöth, M., 2019. "Salience theory: Calibration and heterogeneity in probability distortion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 477-495.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Salience Perception; Allais Paradox; Ellsberg Paradox; Present Bias; Diminishing Sensitivity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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