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Strategies, heuristics and the relevance of risk aversion in a dynamic decision problem

  • Müller, Wieland

In this paper I consider a complex decision problem where subjects have to cope with a time horizon of uncertain duration and must update their termination probabilities which depend on stochastic events during life. First I describe how economic theory suggests to solve the decision problem. But since real decision makers can hardly be expected to behave according to the theoretical solution in the problem at hand, I describe several heuristics or rules of thumb and investigate their theoretical performance. Then observed behavior and the way how people tackled the problem is described. In the second part of the paper I discuss how much of the data can be explained by assuming that experimental subjects are risk averse.

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Paper provided by Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes in its series SFB 373 Discussion Papers with number 1999,61.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:199961
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  1. Enrica Carbone & John Hey, . "A Test of the Principle of Optimality," Discussion Papers 99/9, Department of Economics, University of York.
  2. Hey, John D & Dardanoni, Valentino, 1987. "Optimal Consumption under Uncertainty: An Experimental Investigation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(390), pages 105-16, Supplemen.
  3. Hey, John D, 1983. "Whither Uncertainty?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(369a), pages 130-39, Supplemen.
  4. Vital Anderhub & Werner Gäuth & Wieland Mäuller & Martin Strobel, 2000. "An Experimental Analysis of Intertemporal Allocation Behavior," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 137-152, October.
  5. Huck, Steffen & Weizsacker, Georg, 1999. "Risk, complexity, and deviations from expected-value maximization: Results of a lottery choice experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 699-715, December.
  6. Pemberton, James, 1993. "Attainable Non-optimality or Unattainable Optimality: A New Approach to Stochastic Life Cycle Problems," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 1-20, January.
  7. Eric J. Johnson & John W. Payne, 1985. "Effort and Accuracy in Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(4), pages 395-414, April.
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