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Resolving inconsistencies in utility measurement under risk: Tests of generalizations of expected utility

  • Han Bleichrodt
  • José María Abellán-Perpiñan
  • JoséLuis Pinto
  • Ildefonso Méndez-Martínez

This paper explores biases in the elicitation of utilities under risk and the contribution that generalizations of expected utility can make to the resolution of these biases. We used five methods to measure utilities under risk and found clear violations of expected utility. Of the theories studies, prospect theory was 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 why we found no improvement of prospect theory over expected utility in risk-risk methods may be that there was less overweighting of small probabilities in our study than has commonly been observed.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 798.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:798
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  18. 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.
  19. John C. Hershey & Paul J. H. Schoemaker, 1985. "Probability Versus Certainty Equivalence Methods in Utility Measurement: Are they Equivalent?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(10), pages 1213-1231, October.
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  21. Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Working Papers 1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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  23. Han Bleichrodt & Ulrich Schmidt, 2002. "A Context-Dependent Model of the Gambling Effect," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(6), pages 802-812, June.
  24. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
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