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Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Laboratory Analysis of Investment Opportunities under Ambiguity

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  • Paul Viefers

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of uncertainty on an irreversible investment decisions in the laboratory. Subjects own the option to seize a claim on the future sum of realizations from an (ambiguous) random walk. I contrast model predicitions of the Subjective Expected Utility model (SEU, Savage, 1954) with model predictions made by Multiple-prior Expected Utility models (MEU, Gilboa & Schmeidler, 1989; Epstein & Schneider, 2003b). I present an experimental design that allows to identify behaviorally meaningful deviations from SEU. Observed behavior is at odds with the SEU prediction. On average, subjects in a treatment group, facing an ambiguous random walk, exhibit an ambiguity premium that presents a mark-up on average reservation profits in a control group. Hence, subjects shun to expose themselves to an ambiguous payoff process and invest later than participants facing a risky payoff process.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Viefers, 2012. "Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Laboratory Analysis of Investment Opportunities under Ambiguity," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1228, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1228
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ambiguity aversion; multiple priors; optimal stopping; irreversible investment;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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