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Risk Attitudes in Axiomatic Decision Theory: a Conceptual Perspective

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  • Jean Baccelli

    () (Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU - Ludwig Maximilian University [Munich], IHPST - Institut d'Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - DEC - Département d'Etudes Cognitives - ENS Paris - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres)

Abstract

In this paper, I examine the decision-theoretic status of risk attitudes. I start by providing evidence showing that the risk attitude concepts do not play a major role in the axiomatic analysis of the classic models of decision-making under risk. This can be interpreted as reflecting the neutrality of these models between the possible risk attitudes. My central claim, however, is that such neutrality needs to be qualified and the axiomatic relevance of risk attitudes needs to be re-evaluated accordingly. Specifically, I highlight the importance of the conditional variation and the strengthening of risk attitudes, and I explain why they establish the axiomatic significance of the risk attitude concepts. I also present several questions for future research regarding the strengthening of risk attitudes.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean Baccelli, 2018. "Risk Attitudes in Axiomatic Decision Theory: a Conceptual Perspective," Post-Print hal-01620886, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01620886
    DOI: 10.1007/s11238-017-9636-6
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01620886
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Gul, Faruk, 1991. "A Theory of Disappointment Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 667-686, May.
    4. Alain Chateauneuf & Michéle Cohen & Isaac Meilijson, 2005. "More pessimism than greediness: a characterization of monotone risk aversion in the rank-dependent expected utility model," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 25(3), pages 649-667, April.
    5. 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.
    6. Hong, Chew Soo & Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1987. "Risk aversion in the theory of expected utility with rank dependent probabilities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 370-381, August.
    7. Hong Chew Soo & Epstein Larry G. & Wakker Peter, 1993. "A Unifying Approach to Axiomatic Non-expected Utility Theories: Correction and Comment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 183-188, February.
    8. Dean, Mark & Ortoleva, Pietro, 2017. "Allais, Ellsberg, and preferences for hedging," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(1), January.
    9. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
    10. Chew, S. H. & Epstein, L. G., 1989. "A unifying approach to axiomatic non-expected utility theories," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 207-240, December.
    11. Dekel, Eddie, 1986. "An axiomatic characterization of preferences under uncertainty: Weakening the independence axiom," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 304-318, December.
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    Keywords

    non-expected utility; cautious expected utility ; rank-dependent utility; risk aversion; conditional certainty equivalent; Allais paradox;

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