A Stochastic Expected Utility Theory
This paper proposes a new model that explains the violations of expected utility theory through the role of random errors. The paper analyzes decision making under risk when individuals make random errors when they compute expected utilities. Errors are drawn from the normal distribution, which is truncated so that the stochastic utility of a lottery cannot be greater (lower) than the utility of the highest (lowest) possible outcome. The standard deviation of random errors is higher for lotteries with a wider range of possible outcomes. It converges to zero for lotteries converging to a degenerate lottery. The model explains all major stylized empirical facts such as the Allais paradox and the fourfold pattern of risk attitudes. The model fits the data from ten well-known experimental studies at least as good as cumulative prospect theory.
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