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Risk Aversion as Attitude towards Probabilities: A Paradox

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  • James C. Cox
  • Vjollca Sadiraj

Abstract

Theories of decision under risk that challenge expected utility theory model risk attitudes at least partly with transformation of probabilities. We explain how attributing risk aversion (partly or wholly) to attitude towards probabilities, can produce extreme probability distortions that imply paradoxical risk aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • James C. Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2011. "Risk Aversion as Attitude towards Probabilities: A Paradox," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2011-10, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2011-10
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    File URL: http://excen.gsu.edu/workingpapers/GSU_EXCEN_WP_2011-10.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    2. James Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj & Ulrich Schmidt, 2015. "Paradoxes and mechanisms for choice under risk," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(2), pages 215-250, June.
    3. Handa, Jagdish, 1977. "Risk, Probabilities, and a New Theory of Cardinal Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 97-122, February.
    4. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    5. Conlisk, John, 1989. "Three Variants on the Allais Example," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 392-407, June.
    6. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
    7. James C. Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj & Bodo Vogt & Utteeyo Dasgupta, 2007. "Is There A Plausible Theory for Risky Decisions?," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2007-05, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Jul 2010.
    8. Wakker,Peter P., 2010. "Prospect Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521765015, December.
    9. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    10. Cubitt, Robin P & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1998. "Dynamic Choice and the Common Ratio Effect: An Experimental Investigation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1362-1380, September.
    11. Machina, Mark J, 1987. "Choice under Uncertainty: Problems Solved and Unsolved," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 121-154, Summer.
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    Keywords

    risk aversion; probability transformation; calibration; reference dependence; loss aversion;

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