IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pen/papers/11-036.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Optimism and Pessimism with Expected Utility

Author

Listed:
  • David Dillenberger

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Andrew Postlewaite

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Kareen Rozen

    () (Department of Economics, Yale University)

Abstract

Savage (1954) provided a set of axioms on preferences over acts that were equivalent to the existence of an expected utility representation. We show that in addition to this representation, there is a continuum of other .expected utility.representations in which for any act, the probability distribution over states depends on the corresponding outcomes. We suggest that optimism and pessimism can be captured by the stake-dependent probabilities in these alternative representations; e.g., for a pessimist, the probability of every outcome except the worst is distorted down from the Savage probability. Extending the DM.s preferences to be defined on both subjective acts and objective lotteries, we show how one may distinguish optimists from pessimists and separate attitude towards uncertainty from curvature of the utility function over monetary prizes.

Suggested Citation

  • David Dillenberger & Andrew Postlewaite & Kareen Rozen, 2011. "Optimism and Pessimism with Expected Utility," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-036, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 25 Oct 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:11-036
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://economics.sas.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/filevault/11-036.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman, 2010. "How (Not) to Do Decision Theory," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 257-282, September.
    2. Simon Grant & Ben Polak & Tomasz Strzalecki, "undated". "Second-Order Expected Utility," Working Paper 8340, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    3. Simon Grant & Edi Karni, 2005. "Why Does It Matter That Beliefs And Valuations Be Correctly Represented?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(3), pages 917-934, August.
    4. Gilboa, Itzhak & Postlewaite, Andrew & Schmeidler, David, 2009. "Is It Always Rational To Satisfy Savage'S Axioms?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(03), pages 285-296, November.
    5. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman, 2012. "Costly Self‐Control and Random Self‐Indulgence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(3), pages 1271-1302, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Measuring optimists and pessimists
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-12-16 21:56:00

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Topi Miettinen & Michael Kosfeld & Ernst Fehr & Jörgen W. Weibull, 2017. "Revealed Preferences in a Sequential Prisoners' Dilemma: A Horse-Race Between Six Utility Functions," CESifo Working Paper Series 6358, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Barron, Kai, 2016. "Belief updating: Does the 'good-news, bad-news' asymmetry extend to purely financial domains?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2016-309, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2015. "Modelling Imperfect Attention," Working Papers 744, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    4. Weinstock, Eyal & Sonsino, Doron, 2014. "Are risk-seekers more optimistic? Non-parametric approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 236-251.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subjective expected utility; optimism; pessimism; stake-dependent probability;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Economic Logic blog

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pen:papers:11-036. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Administrator) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deupaus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.