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The Utility Function Under Prospect Theory


  • Ali al-Nowaihi


  • Ian Bradley


  • Sanjit Dhami



Prospect theory is the main behavioral alternative to expected utility. Tversky and Kahnemann (1992) motivate the utility function for gains and losses under prospect theory by using the axiom of preference homogeneity. However, they do not provide the formal proof. We provide the relevant proof. Furthermore, we show that the utility function under preference homogeneity obeys an additional and important restriction that is not noted by Tversky and Kahnemann (1992). This simplifies the use of prospect theory by reducing the number of free parameters by one.

Suggested Citation

  • Ali al-Nowaihi & Ian Bradley & Sanjit Dhami, 2006. "The Utility Function Under Prospect Theory," Discussion Papers in Economics 06/15, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:06/15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ali al-Nowaihi & Sanjit Dhami, 2005. "Insurance and Probability Weighting Functions," Discussion Papers in Economics 05/19, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Sep 2006.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dhami, Sanjit & al-Nowaihi, Ali, 2013. "An extension of the Becker proposition to non-expected utility theory," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 10-20.
    2. Antonio Nicita & Matteo Rizzolli, 2014. "In Dubio Pro Reo. Behavioral Explanations of Pro-defendant Bias in Procedures," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 60(3), pages 554-580.
    3. Ali al-Nowaihi & Sanjit Dhami, 2010. "Composite Prospect Theory: A proposal to combine ‘prospect theory’ and ‘cumulative prospect theory’," Discussion Papers in Economics 10/11, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    4. Ali al-Nowaihi & Sanjit Dhami, 2010. "The Behavioral Economics of Insurance," Discussion Papers in Economics 10/12, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Apr 2010.
    5. Ali al-Nowaihi & Sanjit Dhami, 2010. "Probability Weighting Functions," Discussion Papers in Economics 10/10, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    6. Sanjit Dhami & Ali al-Nowaihi, 2010. "The Behavioral Economics of Crime and Punishment," Discussion Papers in Economics 10/14, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Jul 2010.

    More about this item


    Prospect Theory; Preference homogeneity; Functional equations;

    JEL classification:

    • C60 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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