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Dynamic Disappointment Aversion: Don't Tell Me Anything Until You Know For Sure


  • Shiri Artstein-Avidan

    () (School of Mathematical Sciences, Tel Aviv University)

  • David Dillenberger

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)


We show that for a disappointment-averse decision maker, splitting a lottery into several stages reduces its value. To do this, we extend Gul.s (1991) model of disappointment aversion into a dynamic setting while keeping its basic characteristics intact. The result depends solely on the sign of the coefficient of disappointment aversion. It can help explain why people often buy periodic insurance for moderately priced objects, such as electrical appliances and cellular phones, at much more than the actuarially fair rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Shiri Artstein-Avidan & David Dillenberger, 2010. "Dynamic Disappointment Aversion: Don't Tell Me Anything Until You Know For Sure," PIER Working Paper Archive 10-025, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:10-025

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dillenberger, David, 2008. "Preferences for One-Shot Resolution of Uncertainty and Allais-Type Behavior," MPRA Paper 8342, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Dillenberger, David & Rozen, Kareen, 2015. "History-dependent risk attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 445-477.
    3. Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert & Liu, Jun, 2005. "Why stocks may disappoint," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 471-508, June.
    4. Gul, Faruk, 1991. "A Theory of Disappointment Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 667-686, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Freeman, David, 2015. "Calibration without reduction for non-expected utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 158(PA), pages 21-32.

    More about this item


    Disappointment aversion; recursive preferences; compound lotteries;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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