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The optimal allocation of risks under prospect theory


  • Stracca, Livio


This paper deals with the optimal allocation of risks for an agent whose preferences may be represented with prospect theory (Tversky and Kahneman, 1992). A simple setting is considered with n identically distributed and symmetric sources of risk. Under expected utility, equal diversification of risks is optimal in this setting ('do not put your eggs in the same basket'). Conversely, under prospect theory, provided that the subjective probability of obtaining a perfect hedge is negligible, risk concentration is optimal ('do put your eggs in the same basket'). The intuitive reason behind this result is that a prospect theory agent is risk-seeking over losses, with the consequence that the proerty of diversification of averaging downside risks is welfare-reducing rather than welfare-improving. JEL Classification: D81

Suggested Citation

  • Stracca, Livio, 2002. "The optimal allocation of risks under prospect theory," Working Paper Series 161, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:2002161
    Note: 335958

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    Cited by:

    1. Sureth, Caren & Voß, Armin, 2005. "Investitionsbereitschaft und zeitliche Indifferenz bei Realinvestitionen unter Unsicherheit und Steuern," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 2, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    2. Chao Gong & Chunhui Xu & Ji Wang, 2018. "An Efficient Adaptive Real Coded Genetic Algorithm to Solve the Portfolio Choice Problem Under Cumulative Prospect Theory," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 52(1), pages 227-252, June.
    3. Magi, Alessandro, 2009. "Portfolio choice, behavioral preferences and equity home bias," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 501-520, May.

    More about this item


    cumulative prospect theory; diminishing sensitivity; diversification; home bias puzzle; loss aversion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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