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Thirty Years of Prospect Theory in Economics: A Review and Assessment

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  • Nicholas C. Barberis

Abstract

Prospect theory, first described in a 1979 paper by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, is widely viewed as the best available description of how people evaluate risk in experimental settings. While the theory contains many remarkable insights, economists have found it challenging to apply these insights, and it is only recently that there has been real progress in doing so. In this paper, after first reviewing prospect theory and the difficulties inherent in applying it, I discuss some of this recent work. While it is too early to declare this research effort an unqualified success, the rapid progress of the last decade makes me optimistic that at least some of the insights of prospect theory will eventually find a permanent and significant place in mainstream economic analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas C. Barberis, 2012. "Thirty Years of Prospect Theory in Economics: A Review and Assessment," NBER Working Papers 18621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18621
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    Cited by:

    1. Stuart McIntyre, 2013. "Personal Indebtedness, Community Characteristics And Theft Crime," ERSA conference papers ersa13p1176, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Shleifer, Andrei, 2012. "Psychologists at the Gate: Review of Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow," Scholarly Articles 10735580, Harvard University Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles

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