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Intuition and Reasoning in Choosing Ambiguous and Risky Lotteries

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  • Bergheim, Ralf
  • Roos, Michael W. M.

Abstract

This paper focuses on information acquisition and individual decision making in ambiguous situations and presents a novel experimental design which may help to tackle open questions from a fresh perspective. Instead of giving subjects the choice between risky and ambiguous Ellsberg urns, we let them choose between a safe option and a risky lottery, whose risk is a priori unknown to subjects. By acquiring information about the probability distribution of the lottery's payoff s, subjects can reduce or even eliminate the ambiguity and turn the decision situation into one of risk. Under the assumption that an ambiguity averse subject should reduce ambiguity within a decision process we predicted that these subjects would request more information. Moreover, we investigate whether the relation between attitudes towards risk and ambiguity is linked to intuitive and deliberate thinking. Based on a detailed analysis of subjects' information acquisition and decision processes we do not find that those subjects showing ambiguity aversion in an urn experiment based on Halevy (2007) significantly reduce the ambiguity more than others. More intuitive subjects acquire less information and are more likely to avoid the risky lottery. Intuition seems to be negatively correlated with risk aversion, but not with ambiguity aversion. Moreover, we find a positive correlation between risk and ambiguity aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Bergheim, Ralf & Roos, Michael W. M., 2013. "Intuition and Reasoning in Choosing Ambiguous and Risky Lotteries," Ruhr Economic Papers 440, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:rwirep:440
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Michèle Cohen & Jean-Marc Tallon & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2011. "An experimental investigation of imprecision attitude and its relation with risk attitude and impatience," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 81-109, July.
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    5. Akay, Alpaslan & Martinsson, Peter & Medhin, Haileselassie & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2009. "Attitudes toward Uncertainty among the Poor: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," IZA Discussion Papers 4225, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    7. Qiu, Jianying & Weitzel, Utz, 2011. "Reference dependent ambiguity aversion: theory and experiment," MPRA Paper 35289, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Dec 2011.
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    Cited by:

    1. Katarzyna Gawryluk & Michal Krawczyk, 2017. "Probability weighting under time pressure: applying the double-response method," Working Papers 2017-08, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ambiguity aversion; risk aversion; uncertainty; experiment; decision making; binary system of thinking;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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