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Underestimation of probability modifications: characterization and economic implications

Author

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  • Johanna Etner
  • Meglena Jeleva

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to propose a behavioral characterization of individuals who underestimate probability modifications and to characterize this behavior in the standard preferences representation models under risk (Expected utility, Dual theory, Rank Dependant Utility Theory and MaxMin Expected Utility). Our main results are the following. Underreaction to probability modifications is in general independent from standard risk aversion and prudence. In models involving probability transformation functions, it is characterized by the slope of the probability transformation function. In the MaxMin Expected utility model under risk, it is related to the weights of the maximal and minimal consequences in the preferences representation function. Considering a simple prevention decision, consisting in the reduction of the probability of a monetary loss, we show that individuals who underreact to probability modifications invest less in prevention than individuals who objectively evaluate these modifications. Underreaction to probability modification is thus a possible explanation for low investment in prevention.

Suggested Citation

  • Johanna Etner & Meglena Jeleva, 2012. "Underestimation of probability modifications: characterization and economic implications," EconomiX Working Papers 2012-33, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
  • Handle: RePEc:drm:wpaper:2012-33
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
    2. Wakker,Peter P., 2010. "Prospect Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521765015, January.
    3. Adrian Bruhin & Helga Fehr-Duda & Thomas Epper, 2010. "Risk and Rationality: Uncovering Heterogeneity in Probability Distortion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1375-1412, July.
    4. Louis Eeckhoudt & Christian Gollier, 2005. "The impact of prudence on optimal prevention," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 26(4), pages 989-994, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:zbw:rwirep:0537 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kairies-Schwarz, Nadja & Kokot, Johanna & Vomhof, Markus & Wessling, Jens, 2014. "How Do Consumers Choose Health Insurance? – An Experiment on Heterogeneity in Attribute Tastes and Risk Preferences," Ruhr Economic Papers 537, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Nadja Kairies-Schwarz & Johanna Kokot & Markus Vomhof & Jens Wessling, 2014. "How Do Consumers Choose Health Insurance? – An Experiment on Heterogeneity in Attribute Tastes and Risk Preferences," Ruhr Economic Papers 0537, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    probability perception; non expected utility; prevention;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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