Prospect Theory or Skill Signaling?
Failure is embarrassing. In gambles involving both skill and chance, we show that a strategic desire to avoid appearing unskilled generates behavioral anomalies that are typically explained by prospect theory’s concepts of loss aversion, probability weighting, and framing effects. Loss aversion arises because losing any gamble, even a friendly bet with little or no money at stake, reflects poorly on the decision maker’s skill. Probability weighting emerges because winning a gamble with a low probability of success is a strong signal of skill, while losing a gamble with a high probability of success is a strong signal of incompetence. Framing matters when there are multiple equilibria and the framing of a gamble affects beliefs, e.g., when someone takes a “dare” rather than admit a lack of skill. The analysis is based on models from the career concerns literature and is closely related to early social psychology models of risk taking. The results provide an alternative perspective on the existence of prospect theory behavior in economic, financial, and managerial decisions where both skill and chance are important. We identify specific situations where skill signaling makes opposite predictions than prospect theory, allowing for tests between the strategic and behavioral approaches to understanding risk.
|Date of creation:||2005|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1309 East Tenth Street, Room 451, Bloomington, IN 47405-1701|
Web page: http://kelley.iu.edu/bepp/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Milbourn, Todd T & Shockley, Richard L & Thakor, Anjan V, 2001. "Managerial Career Concerns and Investments in Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(2), pages 334-51, Summer.
- Kimball, Miles S, 1990.
"Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large,"
Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
- Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael T. Rauh & Giulio Seccia, 2006.
"Anxiety And Performance: An Endogenous Learning-By-Doing Model,"
International Economic Review,
Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 583-609, 05.
- Michael T. Rauh & Giulio Seccia, 2005. "Anxiety and Performance: An Endogenous Learning-by-doing Model," Working Papers 2005-01, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
- Vincent Feltkamp & Yoram Halevy, 1999.
"- A Bayesian Approach To Uncertainty Aversion,"
Working Papers. Serie AD
1999-14, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
- Yoram Halevy & Vincent Feltkamp, . "A Bayesian Approach to Uncentainty Aversion," CARESS Working Papres 99-03, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
- Feltkamp, Vincent & Halevy, Yoram, 2004. "A Bayesian Approach to Uncertainty Aversion," Microeconomics.ca working papers halevy-04-02-13-07-48-37, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 25 Feb 2014.
- Yoram Halevy & Vincent Feltkamp, . "A Bayesian Approach to Uncentainty Aversion," Penn CARESS Working Papers f17f3e2c6ad93e4b53fd58fc9, Penn Economics Department.
- Vincent Feltkamp & Yoram Halevy, 2000. "A Bayesian Approach to Uncertainty Aversion," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1125, Econometric Society.
- Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979.
"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
7656, David K. Levine.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
- Shefrin, Hersh & Statman, Meir, 1985. " The Disposition to Sell Winners Too Early and Ride Losers Too Long: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 777-90, July.
- Uri Gneezy & John A. List & George Wu, 2006.
"The Uncertainty Effect: When a Risky Prospect is Valued Less than its Worst Possible Outcome,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1283-1309.
- George Wu & John List & Uri Gneezy, 2006. "The uncertainty effect: When a risky prospect is valued less than its worst possible outcome," Framed Field Experiments 00152, The Field Experiments Website.
- Judith Chevalier & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "Career Concerns of Mutual Fund Managers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 389-432.
- Matthew Rabin, 2001.
"Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem,"
Method and Hist of Econ Thought
- Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
- Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risk Aversion and Expected Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7667, David K. Levine.
- Rabin, Matthew, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt731230f8, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Economics Working Papers E00-279, University of California at Berkeley.
- Whitmore, G A, 1970. "Third-Degree Stochastic Dominance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 457-59, June.
- Gul, Faruk, 1991. "A Theory of Disappointment Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 667-86, May.
- Rick Harbaugh & Tatiana Kornienko, 2000. "Local Status and Prospect Theory," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-38, Claremont Colleges.
- Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Joaquim Silvestre, 2002. "Reflections on gains and losses: A 2x2x7 experiment," Economics Working Papers 640, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2005.
- Botond Köszegi, 2006. "Ego Utility, Overconfidence, and Task Choice," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 673-707, 06.
- Menezes, C & Geiss, C & Tressler, J, 1980. "Increasing Downside Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 921-32, December.
- Scharfstein, David. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1988.
"Herd behavior and investment,"
WP 2062-88., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Barberis, Nicholas & Thaler, Richard, 2003.
"A survey of behavioral finance,"
Handbook of the Economics of Finance,
in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1053-1128
- Banks, Jeffrey S & Sobel, Joel, 1987.
"Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games,"
Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 647-61, May.
- Benabou, R. & Tirole, J., 2001.
"Willpower and Personal Rules,"
216, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
- William Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Lise Vesterlund, 2002.
"Risk Attitudes of Children and Adults: Choices Over Small and Large Probability Gains and Losses,"
Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(1), pages 53-84, June.
- William T. Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Lise Vesterlund, 1999. "Risk attitudes of children and adults: choices over small and large probability gains and losses," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 1999-2, University of Oregon Economics Department.
- Kate Krause & Lise Vesterlund & William Harbaugh, 2002. "Risk attitudes of children and adults: Choices over small and large probability gains and losses," Artefactual Field Experiments 00055, The Field Experiments Website.
- Bengt Holmstrom & Joan Ricart i Costa, 1986. "Managerial Incentives and Capital Management," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 835-860.
- Cowen, Tyler & Glazer, Amihai, 2007. "Esteem and ignorance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 373-383, July.
- Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008.
"Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence,"
Handbook of Experimental Economics Results,
- Prendergast, Canice & Stole, Lars, 1996. "Impetuous Youngsters and Jaded Old-Timers: Acquiring a Reputation for Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1105-34, December.
- Stephen Morris, 2001.
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 231-265, April.
- Fishburn, Peter C, 1978. "On Handa's "New Theory of Cardinal Utility" and the Maximization of Expected Return," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages 321-24, April.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999.
"The Economics of Career Concerns, Part I: Comparing Information Structures,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 183-198.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The economics of career concerns: part 1 :comparing information structures," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9617, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
- Avery, Christopher N. & Chevalier, Judith A., 1999. "Herding over the career," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 327-333, June.
- Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys will be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292.
- George Wu & Richard Gonzalez, 1996. "Curvature of the Probability Weighting Function," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(12), pages 1676-1690, December.
- David E. Bell, 1983. "Risk Premiums for Decision Regret," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(10), pages 1156-1166, October.
- Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-24, December.
- Susan K. Laury & Charles A. Holt, 2005. "Further Reflections on Prospect Theory," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-23, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- Matthew Rabin & Richard H. Thaler, 2001. "Anomalies: Risk Aversion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 219-232, Winter.
- Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-30, October.
- Nick Feltovich & Richmond Harbaugh & Ted To, 2002. "Too Cool for School? Signalling and Countersignalling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 630-649, Winter.
- Drazen Prelec, 1998. "The Probability Weighting Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 497-528, May.
- Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
- Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915.
- Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2005-06. 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: (Rick Harbaugh)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.