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On the Robustness of Higher Order Risk Preferences


  • Cary Deck

    () (University of Arkansas and Economic Science Institute, Chapman University,)

  • Harris Schlesinger

    (University of Alabama)


Economists have begun to recognize the role that higher order risk preferences play in a variety of settings. As such, several experiments have documented the degree of prudence, temperance, and to a lesser extent, edginess and bentness that laboratory subjects exhibit. More recently, researchers have argued that higher order risk preferences generally conform to mixed risk averse and mixed risk loving patterns that arise from a preference for disaggregating or aggregating harms, respectively. This paper examines the robustness of this pattern in three ways. First, it attempts to directly replicate previous results with compound lotteries over monetary outcomes. Second, it compares behavior in compound lotteries with behavior in reduced form lotteries. And third, it evaluates choices over monetary and non-monetary risks. While previous results are replicated for compound lotteries over monetary outcomes and aggregate behavior with reduced form lotteries has a similar pattern, individuals clearly treat compound and reduced form lotteries differently. Further, behavior differs between monetary and non-monetary outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Cary Deck & Harris Schlesinger, 2016. "On the Robustness of Higher Order Risk Preferences," Working Papers 16-26, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:16-26

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Schlesinger, Harris & Tsetlin, Ilia, 2009. "Apportioning of risks via stochastic dominance," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 994-1003, May.
    3. Harrison, Glenn W. & Martínez-Correa, Jimmy & Swarthout, J. Todd, 2015. "Reduction of compound lotteries with objective probabilities: Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 32-55.
    4. Hayne E. Leland, 1968. "Saving and Uncertainty: The Precautionary Demand for Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 465-473.
    5. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972. "Consumption decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
    6. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-955, December.
    7. Louis Eeckhoudt & Harris Schlesinger, 2006. "Putting Risk in Its Proper Place," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 280-289, March.
    8. Cary Deck & Harris Schlesinger, 2010. "Exploring Higher Order Risk Effects," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1403-1420.
    9. Charles N. Noussair & Stefan T. Trautmann & Gijs van de Kuilen, 2014. "Higher Order Risk Attitudes, Demographics, and Financial Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 325-355.
    10. David Crainich & Louis Eeckhoudt & Alain Trannoy, 2013. "Even (Mixed) Risk Lovers Are Prudent," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1529-1535, June.
    11. A. Sandmo, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 353-360.
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    More about this item


    Risk apportionment; mixed risk aversion; prudence; temperance; edginess; experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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