The uncertainty effect: When a risky prospect is valued less than its worst possible outcome
Expected utility theory, prospect theory, and most other models of risky choice are based on the fundamental premise that individuals choose among risky prospects by balancing the value of the possible consequences. These models, therefore, require that the value of a risky prospect lie between the value of that prospect's highest and lowest outcome. Although this requirement seems essential for any theory of risky decision-making, we document a violation of this condition in which individuals value a risky prospect less than its worst possible realization. This demonstration, which we term the uncertainty effect, draws from more than 1000 experimental participants, and includes hypothetical and real pricing and choice tasks, as well as field experiments in real markets with financial incentives. Our results suggest that there are choice situations in which decision-makers discount lotteries for uncertainty in a manner that cannot be accommodated by standard models of risky choice.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gneezy, Uri & Potters, Jan, 1997.
"An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-45, May.
- Gneezy, U. & Potters, J.J.M., 1997. "An experiment on risk taking and evaluation periods," Other publications TiSEM da6ba1bf-e15c-41b2-ae95-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
- Gneezy, U. & Potters, J.J.M., 1996. "An experiment on risk taking and evaluation periods," Discussion Paper 1996-61, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- John A. List, 2003.
"Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71, February.
- John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
- Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann & Sasha Prokosheva & Ralph Hertwig, 2009.
"How Certain Is the Uncertainty Effect?,"
CERGE-EI Working Papers
wp385, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
- Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1993.
"Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle,"
NBER Working Papers
4369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Benartzi, Shlomo & Thaler, Richard H, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92, February.
- Jonathan W. Leland, 1998. "Similarity Judgments in Choice Under Uncertainty: A Reinterpretation of the Predictions of Regret Theory," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(5), pages 659-672, May.
- 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.
- Machina, Mark J, 1987. "Choice under Uncertainty: Problems Solved and Unsolved," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 121-54, Summer.
- Conlisk, John, 1993. " The Utility of Gambling," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 255-75, June.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Ritov, Ilana & Schkade, David A, 1999. "Economic Preferences or Attitude Expressions?: An Analysis of Dollar Responses to Public Issues," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 203-35, December.
- Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S251-78, October.
- repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73908 is not listed on IDEAS
- 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.
- Enrico Diecidue & Ulrich Schmidt & Peter P. Wakker, 2004. "The Utility of Gambling Reconsidered," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 241-259, December.
- John A. List, 2001.
"Do Explicit Warnings Eliminate the Hypothetical Bias in Elicitation Procedures? Evidence from Field Auctions for Sportscards,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1498-1507, December.
- John List, 2001. "Do explicit warnings eliminate the hypothetical bias in elicitation procedures? Evidence from field auctions for sportscards," Framed Field Experiments 00163, The Field Experiments Website.
- Slovic, Paul & Lichtenstein, Sarah, 1983. "Preference Reversals: A Broader Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 596-605, September.
- Fox, Craig R & Tversky, Amos, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion and Comparative Ignorance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 585-603, August.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:feb:framed:00152. 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: (Joe Seidel)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.