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Further Reflections on Prospect Theory

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  • Susan K. Laury
  • Charles A. Holt

Abstract

This paper reports a new experimental test of prospect theoryâ??s reflection effect. We conduct a sequence of experiments that allow us to directly compare choices under reflected gains and losses where real and hypothetical payoffs range from several dollars to over $100. Lotteries with positive payoffs are transformed into lotteries over losses by reflecting all payoffs around zero. When we use hypothetical payments, more than half of the subjects who are risk averse for gains turn out to be risk seeking for losses. This "reflection effect" is diminished considerably with cash payoffs, where the modal choice pattern is to exhibit risk aversion for both gains and losses. However, we do observe a significant difference in risk attitudes between losses (where most subjects are approximately risk neutral) and gains (where most subjects are risk averse). Reflection rates are further reduced when payoffs are scaled up by a factor of 15 (for both real and hypothetical payoffs).

Suggested Citation

  • Susan K. Laury & Charles A. Holt, 2005. "Further Reflections on Prospect Theory," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-23, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2006-23
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    File URL: http://excen.gsu.edu/workingpapers/GSU_EXCEN_WP_2006-23.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sujoy Chakravarty & Jaideep Roy, 2009. "Recursive expected utility and the separation of attitudes towards risk and ambiguity: an experimental study," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 66(3), pages 199-228, March.
    2. Adam Booij & Bernard Praag & Gijs Kuilen, 2010. "A parametric analysis of prospect theory’s functionals for the general population," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 68(1), pages 115-148, February.
    3. Peter Wakker & Veronika Köbberling & Christiane Schwieren, 2007. "Prospect-theory’s Diminishing Sensitivity Versus Economics’ Intrinsic Utility of Money: How the Introduction of the Euro can be Used to Disentangle the Two Empirically," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 63(3), pages 205-231, November.
    4. Manel Baucells & Antonio Villasís, 2010. "Stability of risk preferences and the reflection effect of prospect theory," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 68(1), pages 193-211, February.
    5. Bosch-Domènech, Antoni & Silvestre, Joaquim, 2010. "Averting risk in the face of large losses: Bernoulli vs. Tversky and Kahneman," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 180-182, May.
    6. Sarah Jacobson & Ragan Petrie, 2009. "Learning from mistakes: What do inconsistent choices over risk tell us?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 143-158, April.
    7. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Joaquim Silvestre, 2002. "Reflections on gains and losses: A 2x2x7 experiment," Economics Working Papers 640, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2005.
    8. Rick Harbaugh, 2005. "Prospect Theory or Skill Signaling?," Working Papers 2005-06, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    9. Franziska Ziegelmeyer & Michael Ziegelmeyer, 2016. "Parenting is risky business: parental risk attitudes in small stakes decisions on behalf of their children," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 599-623, September.
    10. Steffen Andersen & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & E. Rutström, 2009. "Elicitation using multiple price list formats," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(3), pages 365-366, September.
    11. Jakusch, Sven Thorsten & Meyer, Steffen & Hackethal, Andreas, 2016. "Taming models of prospect theory in the Wild? Estimation of Vlcek and Hens (2011)," SAFE Working Paper Series 146, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    12. Jakusch, Sven Thorsten, 2016. "On the applicability of maximum likelihood methods: From experimental to financial data," SAFE Working Paper Series 148, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    13. Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "Sex Hormones and Choice under Risk," Working Papers 127, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    14. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Joaquim Silvestre, 2006. "Risk aversion and embedding bias," Economics Working Papers 934, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    15. Gregory S. Berns & C. Monica Capra & Sara Moore & Charles Noussair, 2007. "A shocking experiment: New evidence on probability weighting and common ratio violations," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 2, pages 234-242, August.
    16. Burkhard C. Schipper, 2015. "Sex Hormones and Competitive Bidding," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(2), pages 249-266, February.
    17. E. Elisabet Rutstrom & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau, 2004. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 201, Econometric Society.
    18. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Joaquim Silvestre, 2006. "Reflections on gains and losses: A 2 × 2 × 7 experiment," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 217-235, December.
    19. Peter Brooks & Horst Zank, 2005. "Loss Averse Behavior," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 301-325, December.
    20. Malul, Miki & Rosenboim, Mosi & Shavit, Tal, 2013. "So when are you loss averse? Testing the S-shaped function in pricing and allocation tasks," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 101-112.
    21. Daniel R. Petrolia & Craig E. Landry & Keith H. Coble, 2013. "Risk Preferences, Risk Perceptions, and Flood Insurance," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 89(2), pages 227-245.
    22. Horst Zank, 2010. "On probabilities and loss aversion," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 68(3), pages 243-261, March.
    23. He, Ying & Huang, Rui-Hua, 2008. "Risk attributes theory: Decision making under risk," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 186(1), pages 243-260, April.

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