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Is There One Unifying Concept of Utility?An Experimental Comparison of Utility Under Risk and Utility Over Time

Author

Listed:
  • Mohammed Abdellaoui

    (GREGH - Groupement de Recherche et d'Etudes en Gestion à HEC - HEC Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Han Bleichrodt

    (Erasmus School of Economics - Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Olivier L’haridon

    (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Corina Paraschiv

    (GREGH - Groupement de Recherche et d'Etudes en Gestion à HEC - HEC Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UPD5 - Université Paris Descartes - Paris 5)

Abstract

The nature of utility is controversial. Whereas decision theory commonly assumes that utility is context specific, applied and empirical decision analysis typically assumes one unifying concept of utility applicable to all decision problems. This controversy has hardly been addressed empirically because of the absence of methods to measure utility outside the context of risk. We introduce a method to measure utility over time and compare utility under risk and utility over time. We distinguish between gains and losses and also measure loss aversion. In two experiments we found that utility under risk and utility over time differed and were uncorrelated. Utility under risk was more curved than utility over time. Subjects were loss averse both for risk and for time, but loss aversion was more pronounced for risk. Loss aversion over risk and time were uncorrelated. This suggests that loss aversion, although important in both decision contexts, is volatile and subject to framing.

Suggested Citation

  • Mohammed Abdellaoui & Han Bleichrodt & Olivier L’haridon & Corina Paraschiv, 2013. "Is There One Unifying Concept of Utility?An Experimental Comparison of Utility Under Risk and Utility Over Time," Post-Print halshs-00816056, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00816056
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.1120.1690
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00816056
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    Cited by:

    1. Dorian Jullien, 2016. "Under Uncertainty, Over Time and Regarding Other People: Rationality in 3D," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-20, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    2. Cheung, Stephen L., 2016. "Recent developments in the experimental elicitation of time preference," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(C), pages 1-8.
    3. Lanier, Joshua & Miao, Bin & Quah, John & Zhong, Songfa, 2018. "Intertemporal Consumption with Risk: A Revealed Preference Analysis," MPRA Paper 86263, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Shotaro Shiba & Kazumi Shimizu, 2018. "Does time inconsistency differ between gain and loss? An intra-personal comparison using a non-parametric elicitation method (A revised version)," Working Papers 1807, Waseda University, Faculty of Political Science and Economics.
    5. Dorian Jullien, 2017. "Under Risk, Over Time, Regarding Other People: Language and Rationality Within Three Dimensions
      [Face au risque, dans le temps, par rapport aux autres : langage et rationalité dans trois dimensions
      ," Post-Print halshs-01651042, HAL.
    6. Alina Ferecatu & Ayse Önçüler, 2016. "Heterogeneous risk and time preferences," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 53(1), pages 1-28, August.
    7. repec:kap:jrisku:v:56:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11166-018-9282-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. AJ A. Bostian & Christoph Heinzel, 2016. "Consumption Smoothing and Precautionary Saving under Recursive Preferences," FOODSECURE Working papers 44, LEI Wageningen UR.
    9. Arthur E. Attema & Han Bleichrodt & Yu Gao & Zhenxing Huang & Peter P. Wakker, 2016. "Measuring Discounting without Measuring Utility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(6), pages 1476-1494, June.
    10. Shotaro Shiba & Kazumi Shimizu, 2017. "Does Time Inconsistency Differ between Gain and Loss? An Intra-Personal Comparison Using a Non-Parametric Designed Experimen," Working Papers 1714, Waseda University, Faculty of Political Science and Economics.

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