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An experimental test of loss aversion and scale compatibility

  • Han Bleichrodt
  • José Luis Pinto
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    This paper studies two important reasons why people violate procedure invariance, loss aversion and scale compatibility. The paper extends previous research on loss aversion and scale compatibility by studying loss aversion and scale compatibility simultaneously, by looking at a new decision domain, medical decision analysis, and by examining the effect of loss aversion and scale compatibility on "well-contemplated preferences." We find significant evidence both of loss aversion and scale compatibility. However, the sizes of the biases due to loss aversion and scale compatibility vary over trade-offs and most participants do not behave consistently according to loss aversion or scale compatibility. In particular, the effect of loss aversion in medical trade-offs decreases with duration. These findings are encouraging for utility measurement and prescriptive decision analysis. There appear to exist decision contexts in which the effects of loss aversion and scale compatibility can be minimized and utilities can be measured that do not suffer from these distorting factors.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.upf.edu/docs/papers/downloads/467.pdf
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    Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 467.

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    Date of creation: May 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:467
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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    9. Jones-Lee, Michael W & Loomes, Graham & Philips, P R, 1995. "Valuing the Prevention of Non-fatal Road Injuries: Contingent Valuation vs. Standard Gambles," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(4), pages 676-95, October.
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    11. Ortona, Guido & Scacciati, Francesco, 1992. "New experiments on the endowment effect," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 277-296, June.
    12. Philippe Delquié, 1993. "Inconsistent Trade-Offs Between Attributes: New Evidence in Preference Assessment Biases," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(11), pages 1382-1395, November.
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