Underweighting Rare Events in Experience Based Decisions: Beyond Sample Error
Recent research has focused on the "description-experience gap": While rare events are overweighted in description based decisions, people tend to behave as if they underweight rare events in decisions based on experience. Barron and Erev (2003) and Hertwig, Barron, Weber, and Erev (2004) argue that such findings are substantive and call for a theory of decision making under risk other than Prospect Theory for decisions form experience. Fox and Hadar (2006) suggest that the discrepancy is due to sampling error: people are likely to sample rare events less often than objective probability implies, especially if their samples are small. The current paper examines the necessity of sample error in the underweighting of rare events. The first experiment shows that the gap persists even when people sample the entire population of outcomes and make a decision under risk rather than under uncertainty. A reanalysis of Barron and Erev (2003) further reveals that the gap persists even when subjects observe the expected frequency of rare events. The second experiment shows that the gap exists in a repeated decision making paradigm that controls for sample biases and the "hot stove" effect. Moreover, while underweighting persists in actual choices, overweighting is observed in judged probabilities. The results of the two experiments strengthen the suggestion that descriptive theories of choice that assume overweighting of small probabilities are not useful in describing decisions from experience. This is true even when there is no sample error, for both decisions under risk and for repeated choices.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.unicatt.it/Istituti/EconomiaImpresaLavoro|
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Holt, Charles A, 1986. "Preference Reversals and the Independence Axiom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 508-15, June.
- Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
- Mohammed Abdellaoui & Olivier L'Haridon & Corina Paraschiv, 2011.
"Experienced vs. Described Uncertainty: Do We Need Two Prospect Theory Specifications?,"
INFORMS, vol. 57(10), pages 1879-1895, October.
- Mohammed Abdellaoui & Olivier L'Haridon & Corina Paraschiv, 2011. "Experienced vs. Described Uncertainty: Do We Need Two Prospect Theory Specifications?," Post-Print hal-00638008, HAL.
- Jerker Denrell & James G. March, 2001. "Adaptation as Information Restriction: The Hot Stove Effect," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 12(5), pages 523-538, October.
- Eldad Yechiam & Greg Barron & Ido Erev, 2005. "The Role of Personal Experience in Contributing to Different Patterns of Response to Rare Terrorist Attacks," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 49(3), pages 430-439, June.
- Rakow, Tim & Demes, Kali A. & Newell, Ben R., 2008. "Biased samples not mode of presentation: Re-examining the apparent underweighting of rare events in experience-based choice," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 168-179, July.
- Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1991. "Does the Random-Lottery Incentive System Elicit True Preferences? An Experimental Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 971-78, September.
- Ido Erev & Ira Glozman & Ralph Hertwig, 2008. "What impacts the impact of rare events," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 153-177, April.
- Craig R. Fox & Amos Tversky, 1998. "A Belief-Based Account of Decision Under Uncertainty," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(7), pages 879-895, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ctc:serie4:ieil0054. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lorenzo Cappellari)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.