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Salience and skewness preferences

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  • Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus
  • Köster, Mats

Abstract

Whether people seek or avoid risks on gambling, insurance, asset, or labor markets crucially depends on the skewness of the underlying probability distribution. In fact, people typically seek positively skewed risks and avoid negatively skewed risks. We show that salience theory of choice under risk can explain this preference for positive skewness, because unlikely, but outstanding payoffs attract attention. In contrast to alternative models, however, salience theory predicts that choices under risk not only depend on the absolute skewness of the available options, but also on how skewed these options appear to be relative to each other. We exploit this fact to derive novel, experimentally testable predictions that are unique to the salience model and that we find support for in two laboratory experiments. We thereby argue that skewness preferences - typically attributed to cumulative prospect theory - are more naturally accommodated by salience theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus & Köster, Mats, 2019. "Salience and skewness preferences," DICE Discussion Papers 310, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:dicedp:310
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    Cited by:

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    3. Douadia Bougherara & Lana Friesen & Céline Nauges, 2021. "Risk Taking with Left- and Right-Skewed Lotteries," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 62(1), pages 89-112, February.
    4. Xu, Zhongxiang & Li, Xiafei & Chevapatrakul, Thanaset & Gao, Ning, 2022. "Default risk, macroeconomic conditions, and the market skewness risk premium," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    5. Bougherara, Douadia & Friesen, Lana & Nauges, Céline, 2022. "Risk-taking and skewness-seeking behavior in a demographically diverse population," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 201(C), pages 83-104.
    6. Markus Dertwinkel-Kalt & Jonas Frey & Mats Köster, 2020. "Optimal Stopping in a Dynamic Salience Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 8496, CESifo.
    7. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Alexander Ritschel, 2022. "Attention and salience in preference reversals," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 25(3), pages 1024-1051, June.
    8. Markus Dertwinkel-Kalt & Mats Köster & Matthias Sutter, 2019. "To Buy or not to Buy? Shrouding and Partitioning of Prices in an Online Shopping Field Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 7475, CESifo.
    9. Xiangfeng Ji & Xiaoyu Ao, 2021. "Travelers’ Bi-Attribute Decision Making on the Risky Mode Choice with Flow-Dependent Salience Theory," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(7), pages 1-24, April.
    10. Adrian Bruhin & Maha Manai & Luís Santos-Pinto, 2022. "Risk and rationality: The relative importance of probability weighting and choice set dependence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 65(2), pages 139-184, October.
    11. Jin, Xiaoye, 2022. "Testing technical trading strategies on China's equity ETFs: A skewness perspective," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(PA).
    12. Jin, Xiaoye, 2021. "What do we know about the popularity of technical analysis in foreign exchange markets? A skewness preference perspective," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    13. Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus & Kasinger, Johannes & Schneider, Dmitrij, 2022. "Skewness preferences: Evidence from online poker," SAFE Working Paper Series 351, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    14. Jan Engelmann & Alejandro Hirmas & Joël van der Weele, 2021. "Top Down or Bottom Up? Disentangling the Channels of Attention in Risky Choice," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 21-031/I, Tinbergen Institute.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Salience Theory; Cumulative Prospect Theory; Skewness Preferences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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