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Uncertainty Equivalents: Testing the Limits of the Independence Axiom

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  • James Andreoni
  • Charles Sprenger

Abstract

There is convincing experimental evidence that Expected Utility fails, but when does it fail, how severely, and for what fraction of subjects? We explore these questions using a novel measure we call the uncertainty equivalent. We find Expected Utility performs well away from certainty, but fails near certainty for about 40% of subjects. Comparing non-Expected Utility theories, we strongly reject Prospect Theory probability weighting, we support disappointment aversion if amended to allow violations of stochastic dominance, but find the u-v model of a direct preference for certainty the most parsimonious approach.

Suggested Citation

  • James Andreoni & Charles Sprenger, 2011. "Uncertainty Equivalents: Testing the Limits of the Independence Axiom," NBER Working Papers 17342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17342 Note: PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fafchamps, Marcel & Kebede, Bereket & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2015. "Keep up with the winners: Experimental evidence on risk taking, asset integration, and peer effects," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 59-79.
    2. Dwenger, Nadja & Kübler, Dorothea & Weizsäcker, Georg, 2014. "Flipping a coin: Theory and evidence," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-201r, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Paolo Crosetto & Antonio Filippin, 2016. "A theoretical and experimental appraisal of four risk elicitation methods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(3), pages 613-641, September.
    4. Chie Hanaoka & Hitoshi Shigeoka & Yasutora Watanabe, 2015. "Do Risk Preferences Change? Evidence from Panel Data before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake," NBER Working Papers 21400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Michael Callen & Mohammad Isaqzadeh & James D. Long & Charles Sprenger, 2014. "Violence and Risk Preference: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(1), pages 123-148, January.
    6. A. Morone & P. Morone, 2014. "Estimating individual and group preference functionals using experimental data," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(3), pages 403-422, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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