Consistency, Heterogeneity, and Granularity of Individual Behavior under Uncertainty
By using graphical representations of budget sets over bundles of state-contingent commodities, we generate a very rich data set well-suited to studying behavior under uncertainty at the level of the individual subject. We test the data for consistency with the maximization hypothesis, and we estimate preferences using a two-parameter utility function based on Faruk Gul (1991). This specification provides a good interpretation to the data at the level of the individual subject and can account for the highly heterogeneous behaviors observed in the laboratory. The parameter estimates jointly describe attitudes toward risk and allow us to characterize the distribution of risk preferences in the population.
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