IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Measuring Loss Aversion under Ambiguity: A Method to Make Prospect Theory Completely Observable


  • Mohammed Abdellaoui

    (HEC Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, 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, Department of Applied Economics - Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Olivier L’haridon

    () (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, 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)

  • Dennie van Dolder

    (School of Economics, University of Nottingham - UON - University of Nottingham, UK)


We propose a simple, parameter‐free method that, for the first time, makes it possible to completely observe Tversky and Kahneman's (1992) prospect theory. While methods existed to measure event weighting and the utility for gains and losses separately, there was no method to measure loss aversion under ambiguity. Our method allows this and thereby it can measure prospect theory's entire utility function. Consequently, we can properly identify properties of utility and perform new tests of prospect theory. We implemented our method in an experiment and obtained support for prospect theory. Utility was concave for gains and convex for losses and there was substantial loss aversion. Both utility and loss aversion were the same for risk and ambiguity, as assumed by prospect theory, and sign‐comonotonic trade‐off consistency, the central condition of prospect theory, held.

Suggested Citation

  • Mohammed Abdellaoui & Han Bleichrodt & Olivier L’haridon & Dennie van Dolder, 2016. "Measuring Loss Aversion under Ambiguity: A Method to Make Prospect Theory Completely Observable," Post-Print halshs-01242616, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-01242616
    DOI: 10.1007/s11166-016-9234-y
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.


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

    Cited by:

    1. Arnaud Reynaud & Cécile Aubert, 2020. "Does flood experience modify risk preferences? Evidence from an artefactual field experiment in Vietnam," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 45(1), pages 36-74, March.
    2. Aurélien Baillon & Han Bleichrodt & Umut Keskin & Olivier l’Haridon & Chen Li, 2018. "The Effect of Learning on Ambiguity Attitudes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(5), pages 2181-2198, May.
    3. Lazar, Maya & Levkowitz, Amir & Oren, Amit & Sonsino, Doron, 2017. "A note on receptiveness to loss in structured Investment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 92-98.
    4. Han Bleichrodt & Jason N. Doctor & Yu Gao & Chen Li & Daniella Meeker & Peter P. Wakker, 2019. "Resolving Rabin’s paradox," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 59(3), pages 239-260, December.
    5. Zhihua Li & Julia Müller & Peter P. Wakker & Tong V. Wang, 2018. "The Rich Domain of Ambiguity Explored," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(7), pages 3227-3240, July.
    6. Miroslav Ferenčak & Dušan Dobromirov & Mladen Radišić & Aleksandar Takači, 2018. "Aversion to a sure loss: turning investors into gamblers," Zbornik radova Ekonomskog fakulteta u Rijeci/Proceedings of Rijeka Faculty of Economics, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Economics, vol. 36(2), pages 537-557.
    7. Stefan A. Lipman & Werner B.F. Brouwer & Arthur E. Attema, 2019. "QALYs without bias? Nonparametric correction of time trade‐off and standard gamble weights based on prospect theory," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 843-854, July.
    8. Cheng, Xiu & Long, Ruyin & Chen, Hong, 2020. "A policy utility dislocation model based on prospect theory: A case study of promoting policies with low-carbon lifestyle," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    9. Heo, Wookjae & Grable, John E. & Rabbani, Abed G., 2018. "A test of the relevant association between utility theory and subjective risk tolerance: Introducing the Profit-to-Willingness ratio," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 84-88.
    10. Lipman, Stefan A. & Brouwer, Werner B.F. & Attema, Arthur E., 2020. "Living up to expectations: Experimental tests of subjective life expectancy as reference point in time trade-off and standard gamble," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    11. Kocher, Martin G. & Lahno, Amrei Marie & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2018. "Ambiguity aversion is not universal," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 268-283.
    12. Arthur E. Attema & Han Bleichrodt & Olivier L'Haridon, 2018. "Ambiguity preferences for health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(11), pages 1699-1716, November.
    13. Lipshits, Rachel & Barel-Shaked, Sagit & Ben-Zion, Uri, 2019. "Empirical study relating macroeconomic literacy and rational thinking," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 209-215.


    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:hal:journl:halshs-01242616. 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: (CCSD). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.