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The role of intuition and reasoning in driving aversion to risk and ambiguity

  • Jeffrey V. Butler

    (EIEF)

  • Luigi Guiso

    (European University Institute and EIEF)

  • Tullio Jappelli

    (University of Naples Federico II and CSEF)

Using a large sample of retail investors as well as experimental data we find that risk and ambiguity aversion are positively correlated. We show the common link is decision style: intuitive thinkers tolerate more risk and ambiguity than effortful reasoners. One interpretation is that intuitive thinking confers an advantage in risky or ambiguous situations. We present supporting lab and field evidence that intuitive thinkers outperform others in uncertain environments. Finally, we find that risk and ambiguity aversion vary with individual characteristics and wealth. The wealthy are less risk averse but more ambiguity averse, which has implications for financial puzzles.

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File URL: http://www.eief.it/files/2012/09/wp-07-the-role-of-intuition-and-reasoning-in-driving-aversion-to-risk-and-ambiguity.pdf
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Paper provided by Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) in its series EIEF Working Papers Series with number 1107.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision: Oct 2011
Handle: RePEc:eie:wpaper:1107
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  1. Halevy, Yoram, 2005. "Ellsberg Revisited: an Experimental Study," Microeconomics.ca working papers halevy-05-07-26-11-51-13, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 25 Feb 2014.
  2. Michèle Cohen & Jean-Marc Tallon & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2011. "An experimental investigation of imprecision attitude and its relation with risk attitude and impatience," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00502820, HAL.
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  5. Larry G. Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2010. "Ambiguity and Asset Markets," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 315-346, December.
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  7. Fernando E. Alvarez & Luigi Guiso & Francesco Lippi, 2010. "Durable consumption and asset management with transaction and observation costs," NBER Working Papers 15835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. von Gaudecker, H.M. & van Soest, A.H.O. & Wengstrom, E., 2009. "Heterogeneity in Risky Choice Behavior in a Broad Population," Discussion Paper 2009-12, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
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  12. David Ahn & Syngjoo Choi & Douglas Gale & Shachar Kariv, 2008. "Estimating Ambiguity Aversion in a Portfolio Choice Experiment," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001989, David K. Levine.
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