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Asset Integration and Attitudes to Risk: Theory and Evidence

  • Steffen Andersen

    ()

    (Copenhagen Business School)

  • James C. Cox

    (Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University)

  • Glenn W. Harrison

    ()

    (Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University)

  • Morten Lau

    ()

    (Durham Business School)

  • Elisabet E. Rutstroem

    ()

    (Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University)

  • Vjollca Sadiraj

    (Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University)

Measures of risk attitudes derived from experiments are often questioned because they are based on small stakes bets and do not account for the extent to which the decision-maker integrates the prizes of the experimental tasks with personal wealth. We exploit the existence of detailed information on individual wealth of experimental subjects in Denmark, and directly estimate risk attitudes and the degree of asset integration consistent with observed behavior. The behavior of the adult Danes in our experiments is consistent with partial asset integration: they behave as if some small fraction of personal wealth is combined with experimental prizes in a utility function, and that this combination entails less than perfect substitution. Our subjects do not perfectly asset integrate. The implied risk attitudes from estimating these specifications imply risk premia and certainty equivalents that are a priori plausible under expected utility theory or rank dependent utility models. These are reassuring and constructive solutions to payoff calibration paradoxes. In addition, the rigorous, structural modeling of partial asset integration points to a rich array of neglected questions in risk management and policy evaluation in important field settings.

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Paper provided by Durham University Business School in its series Working Papers with number 2011_10.

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Date of creation: 14 Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:dur:durham:2011_10
Contact details of provider: Postal: Durham University Business School, Mill Hill Lane, Durham DH1 3LB, England
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Web page: http://www.dur.ac.uk/businessEmail:


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  1. James C. Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj & Ulrich Schmidt, 2011. "Paradoxes and Mechanisms for Choice under Risk," Kiel Working Papers 1712, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  2. Glenn W Harrison & John A List & Charles Towe, 2007. "Naturally Occurring Preferences and Exogenous Laboratory Experiments: A Case Study of Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 433-458, 03.
  3. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten Lau & Elisabet E. Rutstroem, 2011. "Discounting Behavior: A Reconsideration," Working Papers 2011_01, Durham University Business School.
  4. James C. Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj, . "Small- and Large-Stakes Risk Aversion: Implications of Concavity Calibration for Decision Theory," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-03, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  5. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, 05.
  6. William Neilson, 2001. "Calibration results for rank-dependent expected utility," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(10), pages 1-5.
  7. Wilcox, Nathaniel, 2007. "Stochastically more risk averse: A contextual theory of stochastic discrete choice under risk," MPRA Paper 11851, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. James Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj & Bodo Vogt & Utteeyo Dasgupta, 2013. "Is there a plausible theory for decision under risk? A dual calibration critique," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 305-333, October.
  9. James C. Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2008. "Risky Decisions in the Large and in the Small: Theory and Experiment," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2008-01, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  10. Vjollca Sadiraj, 2012. "Probabilistic Risk Attitudes and Local Risk Aversion: a Paradox," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2012-07, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  11. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  12. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten Lau & Elisabet E. Rutstroem, 2011. "Intertemporal Utility and Correlation Aversion," Working Papers 2011_03, Durham University Business School.
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