IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/exc/wpaper/2016-04.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Cumulative Prospect Theory in the Laboratory: A Reconsideration

Author

Listed:
  • Glenn W. Harrison
  • J. Todd Swarthout

Abstract

We take Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT) seriously by rigorously estimating structural models using the full set of CPT parameters. Much of the literature only estimates a subset of CPT parameters, or more simply assume CPT parameter values from prior studies. Our data are from substantial laboratory experiments with undergraduate students and MBA students facing real incentives and losses. We also estimate structural models from Expected Utility Theory, Dual Theory, Rank-Dependent Utility (RDU) and Disappointment Aversion for comparison. Our major finding is that a majority of individuals in our sample locally asset integrate. That is, they see a loss frame for what it is, a frame, and behave as if they evaluate the net payment rather than the gross loss when one is presented to them. This finding is devastating to the direct application of CPT to these data for those subjects. Support for CPT is greater when losses are covered out of an earned endowment rather than house money, but RDU is still the best single characterization of individual and pooled choices. Defenders of the CPT model claim, correctly, that the CPT model exists "because the data says it should." In other words, the CPT model was borne from a wide range of stylized facts culled from parts of the cognitive psychology literature. If one is to take the CPT model seriously and rigorously then it needs to do a much better job of explaining the data than we see here.

Suggested Citation

  • Glenn W. Harrison & J. Todd Swarthout, 2016. "Cumulative Prospect Theory in the Laboratory: A Reconsideration," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2016-04, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2016-04
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://excen.gsu.edu/workingpapers/GSU_EXCEN_WP_2016-04.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fennema, Hein & van Assen, Marcel, 1998. "Measuring the Utility of Losses by Means of the Tradeoff Method," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 277-295, December.
    2. Schmidt, Ulrich & Zank, Horst, 2009. "A simple model of cumulative prospect theory," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3-4), pages 308-319, March.
    3. Ulrich Schmidt & Horst Zank, 2008. "Risk Aversion in Cumulative Prospect Theory," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(1), pages 208-216, January.
    4. Stahl Dale O. & Wilson Paul W., 1995. "On Players' Models of Other Players: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 218-254, July.
    5. Glenn Harrison & E. Rutström, 2009. "Expected utility theory and prospect theory: one wedding and a decent funeral," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(2), pages 133-158, June.
    6. Cox, James C. & Sadiraj, Vjollca, 2006. "Small- and large-stakes risk aversion: Implications of concavity calibration for decision theory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 45-60, July.
    7. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    8. Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten I. & Ross, Don & Swarthout, J. Todd, 2017. "Small stakes risk aversion in the laboratory: A reconsideration," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 24-28.
    9. Abdellaoui, Mohammed & Bleichrodt, Han, 2007. "Eliciting Gul's theory of disappointment aversion by the tradeoff method," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 631-645, December.
    10. Neilson, William S & Stowe, Jill, 2002. "A Further Examination of Cumulative Prospect Theory Parameterizations," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 31-46, January.
    11. Kevin A. Clarke & Curtis S. Signorino, 2010. "Discriminating Methods: Tests for Non-nested Discrete Choice Models," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 58, pages 368-388, March.
    12. William Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Lise Vesterlund, 2002. "Risk Attitudes of Children and Adults: Choices Over Small and Large Probability Gains and Losses," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(1), pages 53-84, June.
    13. Kelvin Balcombe & Iain Fraser, 2015. "Parametric preference functionals under risk in the gain domain: A Bayesian analysis," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 161-187, April.
    14. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    15. Ulrich Schmidt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2008. "Third-generation prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 203-223, June.
    16. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    17. Robin Cubitt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1998. "On the Validity of the Random Lottery Incentive System," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(2), pages 115-131, September.
    18. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Han Bleichrodt & Olivier L’Haridon, 2008. "A tractable method to measure utility and loss aversion under prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 245-266, June.
    19. Louis Eeckhoudt & Harris Schlesinger, 2006. "Putting Risk in Its Proper Place," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 280-289, March.
    20. Drazen Prelec, 1998. "The Probability Weighting Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 497-528, May.
    21. 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.
    22. John D. Hey & Chris Orme, 2018. "Investigating Generalizations Of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Experiments in Economics Decision Making and Markets, chapter 3, pages 63-98, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    23. Kevin A. Clarke & Curtis S. Signorino, 2010. "Discriminating Methods: Tests for Non‐nested Discrete Choice Models," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 58(2), pages 368-388, March.
    24. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2007. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark: A Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(2), pages 341-368, June.
    25. Schunk, Daniel & Betsch, Cornelia, 2006. "Explaining heterogeneity in utility functions by individual differences in decision modes," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 386-401, June.
    26. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-333, March.
    27. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Olivier l’Haridon & Corina Paraschiv, 2013. "Individual vs. couple behavior: an experimental investigation of risk preferences," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 75(2), pages 175-191, August.
    28. Wilcox, Nathaniel T., 2011. "'Stochastically more risk averse:' A contextual theory of stochastic discrete choice under risk," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 162(1), pages 89-104, May.
    29. Kevin A. Clarke, 2003. "Nonparametric Model Discrimination in International Relations," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 47(1), pages 72-93, February.
    30. Atanu Saha, 1993. "Expo-Power Utility: A ‘Flexible’ Form for Absolute and Relative Risk Aversion," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 75(4), pages 905-913.
    31. Chateauneuf, Alain & Wakker, Peter, 1999. "An Axiomatization of Cumulative Prospect Theory for Decision under Risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 137-145, August.
    32. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2003. "Cluster-Sample Methods in Applied Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 133-138, May.
    33. Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1991. "Does the Random-Lottery Incentive System Elicit True Preferences? An Experimental Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 971-978, September.
    34. Peter Brooks & Simon Peters & Horst Zank, 2014. "Risk behavior for gain, loss, and mixed prospects," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(2), pages 153-182, August.
    35. Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1987. ""Preference Reversal' and the Observability of Preferences by Experimental Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 675-685, May.
    36. Juan Cárdenas & Nicolas Roux & Christian Jaramillo & Luis Martinez, 2014. "Is it my money or not? An experiment on risk aversion and the house-money effect," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(1), pages 47-60, March.
    37. Conlisk, John, 1989. "Three Variants on the Allais Example," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 392-407, June.
    38. Henry Stott, 2006. "Cumulative prospect theory's functional menagerie," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 101-130, March.
    39. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
    40. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-1289, November.
    41. 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.
    42. Charles Mason & Jason Shogren & Chad Settle & John List, 2005. "Investigating Risky Choices Over Losses Using Experimental Data," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 187-215, September.
    43. Camerer, Colin F, 1989. "An Experimental Test of Several Generalized Utility Theories," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 61-104, April.
    44. Billor, Nedret & Hadi, Ali S. & Velleman, Paul F., 2000. "BACON: blocked adaptive computationally efficient outlier nominators," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 279-298, September.
    45. Michal Brzezinski, 2012. "The Chen–Shapiro test for normality," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 12(3), pages 368-374, September.
    46. Luce, R Duncan & Fishburn, Peter C, 1991. "Rank- and Sign-Dependent Linear Utility Models for Finite First-Order Gambles," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 29-59, January.
    47. Susan Laury & Melayne McInnes & J. Swarthout, 2009. "Insurance decisions for low-probability losses," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 17-44, August.
    48. Holt, Charles A, 1986. "Preference Reversals and the Independence Axiom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 508-515, June.
    49. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
    50. Debajyoti Ray & Matthew Shum & Colin F. Camerer, 2015. "Loss Aversion in Post-Sale Purchases of Consumer Products and Their Substitutes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 376-380, May.
    51. Wakker, Peter & Tversky, Amos, 1993. "An Axiomatization of Cumulative Prospect Theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 147-175, October.
    52. Schmidt, Ulrich & Traub, Stefan, 2002. "An Experimental Test of Loss Aversion," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 233-249, November.
    53. Stefan Zeisberger & Dennis Vrecko & Thomas Langer, 2012. "Measuring the time stability of Prospect Theory preferences," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 359-386, March.
    54. Nathalie Etchart-Vincent, 2004. "Is Probability Weighting Sensitive to the Magnitude of Consequences? An Experimental Investigation on Losses," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 217-235, May.
    55. Glenn Harrison & J. Swarthout, 2014. "Experimental payment protocols and the Bipolar Behaviorist," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(3), pages 423-438, October.
    56. Ranoua Bouchouicha & Ferdinand Vieider, 2016. "Accommodating Stake Effects under Prospect Theory," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2016-03, Department of Economics, Reading University.
    57. Mohammed Abdellaoui, 2000. "Parameter-Free Elicitation of Utility and Probability Weighting Functions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(11), pages 1497-1512, November.
    58. Marc Scholten & Daniel Read, 2014. "Prospect theory and the “forgotten” fourfold pattern of risk preferences," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 67-83, February.
    59. Camerer, Colin F & Ho, Teck-Hua, 1994. "Violations of the Betweenness Axiom and Nonlinearity in Probability," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 167-196, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Müller, Stephan & Rau, Holger A., 2019. "Decisions under uncertainty in social contexts," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 73-95.
    2. Buchanan, Joy A., 2020. "My reference point, not yours," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 297-311.
    3. Guilhem Lecouteux, 2021. "Who's Afraid of Incoherence? Behavioural Welfare Economics and the Sovereignty of the Neoclassical Consumer," GREDEG Working Papers 2021-01, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
    4. Kechagia, Varvara & Drichoutis, Andreas C., 2017. "The effect of olfactory sensory cues on willingness to pay and choice under risk," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 33-46.
    5. Lin, Feng & Peng, Liang & Xie, Jiehua & Yang, Jingping, 2018. "Stochastic distortion and its transformed copula," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 148-166.
    6. Balcombe, Kelvin & Bardsley, Nicholas & Dadzie, Sam & Fraser, Iain, 2019. "Estimating parametric loss aversion with prospect theory: Recognising and dealing with size dependence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 106-119.
    7. Hou, Yanxi & Wang, Xing, 2019. "Nonparametric inference for distortion risk measures on tail regions," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 92-110.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Peter Brooks & Simon Peters & Horst Zank, 2014. "Risk behavior for gain, loss, and mixed prospects," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(2), pages 153-182, August.
    2. Horst Zank, 2010. "On probabilities and loss aversion," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 68(3), pages 243-261, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Andersen, Steffen & Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten Igel & Rutström, Elisabet E., 2010. "Behavioral econometrics for psychologists," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 553-576, August.
    5. Peter Brooks & Horst Zank, 2005. "Loss Averse Behavior," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 301-325, December.
    6. Booij, Adam S. & van de Kuilen, Gijs, 2009. "A parameter-free analysis of the utility of money for the general population under prospect theory," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 651-666, August.
    7. Glenn Harrison & J. Swarthout, 2014. "Experimental payment protocols and the Bipolar Behaviorist," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(3), pages 423-438, October.
    8. Ulrich Schmidt & Horst Zank, 2012. "A genuine foundation for prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 97-113, October.
    9. Michael H. Birnbaum & Ulrich Schmidt & Miriam D. Schneider, 2017. "Testing independence conditions in the presence of errors and splitting effects," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 61-85, February.
    10. Jakusch, Sven Thorsten & Meyer, Steffen & Hackethal, Andreas, 2019. "Taming models of prospect theory in the wild? Estimation of Vlcek and Hens (2011)," SAFE Working Paper Series 146, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    11. Galizzi, Matteo M. & Machado, Sara R. & Miniaci, Raffaele, 2016. "Temporal stability, cross-validity, and external validity of risk preferences measures: experimental evidence from a UK representative sample," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67554, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Ranoua Bouchouicha & Ferdinand M. Vieider, 2017. "Accommodating stake effects under prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 1-28, August.
    13. Adrian Bruhin & Maha Manai & Luis Santos-Pinto, 2018. "Risk and Rationality:The Relative Importance of Probability Weighting and Choice Set Dependence," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 18.04, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    14. 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.
    15. Adrian Bruhin & Maha Manai & Luis Santos-Pinto, 2018. "Risk and Rationality:The Relative Importance of Probability Weighting and Choice Set Dependence," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 18.04, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    16. B. Douglas Bernheim & Charles Sprenger, 2020. "On the Empirical Validity of Cumulative Prospect Theory: Experimental Evidence of Rank‐Independent Probability Weighting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(4), pages 1363-1409, July.
    17. Adrian Bruhin & Maha Manai & Luis Santos-Pinto, 2019. "Risk and Rationality:The Relative Importance of Probability Weighting and Choice Set Dependence," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 19.01new, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    18. Glenn W. Harrison & Jia Min Ng, 2016. "Evaluating The Expected Welfare Gain From Insurance," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 83(1), pages 91-120, January.
    19. Jakusch, Sven Thorsten, 2017. "On the applicability of maximum likelihood methods: From experimental to financial data," SAFE Working Paper Series 148, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    20. Galarza, Francisco, 2009. "Choices under Risk in Rural Peru," MPRA Paper 17708, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2016-04. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (J. Todd Swarthout). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/exgsuus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.