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Resolving Inconsistencies in Utility Measurement under Risk: Tests of Generalizations of Expected Utility

  • Han Bleichrodt

    ()

    (Erasmus University, Rotterdam)

  • Jose María Abellán Perpiñán

    ()

    (University of Murcia)

  • Jose Luis Pinto-Prades

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo de Olavide)

  • Ildefonso Méndez-Martínez

    ()

    (University of Murcia)

This paper explores inconsistencies that occur in utility measurement under risk when expected utility is assumed and the contribution that prospect theory and some other generalizations of expected utility can make to the resolution of these inconsistencies. We used five methods to measure utilities under risk and found clear violations of expected utility. Of the theories studied, prospect theory was the most consistent with our data. The main improvement of prospect theory over expected utility was in comparisons between a riskless and a risky prospect (riskless-risk methods). We observed no improvement over expected utility in comparisons between two risky prospects (risk-risk methods). An explanation for the latter observation may be that there was less distortion in probability weighting in the interval [0.10, 0.20] than has commonly been observed.

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File URL: http://www.upo.es/serv/bib/wps/econ0619.pdf
File Function: First version, 2006
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Paper provided by Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 06.19.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pab:wpaper:06.19
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  1. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  2. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
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  8. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  9. Mohammed Abdellaoui, 2000. "Parameter-Free Elicitation of Utility and Probability Weighting Functions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(11), pages 1497-1512, November.
  10. Han Bleichrodt & Jose Luis Pinto, 2000. "A Parameter-Free Elicitation of the Probability Weighting Function in Medical Decision Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(11), pages 1485-1496, November.
  11. Jonathan Shalev, 2000. "Loss aversion equilibrium," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 269-287.
  12. Sugden, Robert, 2003. "Reference-dependent subjective expected utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 172-191, August.
  13. Bleichrodt, Han, 2001. " Probability Weighting in Choice under Risk: An Empirical Test," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 185-98, September.
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  17. John W. Payne & Dan J. Laughhunn & Roy Crum, 1980. "Translation of Gambles and Aspiration Level Effects in Risky Choice Behavior," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(10), pages 1039-1060, October.
  18. Philippe Delquié, 1997. ""Bi-Matching": A New Preference Assessment Method to Reduce Compatibility Effects," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(5), pages 640-658, May.
  19. Enrico Diecidue & Ulrich Schmidt & Peter P. Wakker, 2004. "The Utility of Gambling Reconsidered," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 241-259, December.
  20. Philippe Delquié, 1993. "Inconsistent Trade-Offs Between Attributes: New Evidence in Preference Assessment Biases," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(11), pages 1382-1395, November.
  21. Payne, John W & Bettman, James R & Schkade, David A, 1999. "Measuring Constructed Preferences: Towards a Building Code," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 243-70, December.
  22. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
  23. Doctor, Jason N. & Bleichrodt, Han & Miyamoto, John & Temkin, Nancy R. & Dikmen, Sureyya, 2004. "A new and more robust test of QALYs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 353-367, March.
  24. Han Bleichrodt & Ulrich Schmidt, 2002. "A Context-Dependent Model of the Gambling Effect," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(6), pages 802-812, June.
  25. José-Luis Pinto-Prades & José-María Abellán-Perpiñán, 2004. "Mesuring the Health of Populations: The Veil of Ignorance Approach," Working Papers 116, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  26. Mark McCord & Richard de Neufville, 1986. ""Lottery Equivalents": Reduction of the Certainty Effect Problem in Utility Assessment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(1), pages 56-60, January.
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