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Stochastic expected utility theory


Blavatskyy, Pavlo R (2007). Stochastic expected utility theory. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 34(3):259-286.

Abstract

A new decision theory is proposed to explain the violations of expected utility theory through the role of random errors. The main premise of the new theory is that individuals make random errors when they compute the expected utility of a risky lottery. When being distorted by error, the expected utility of a lottery should neither exceed the utility of the highest possible outcome nor fall below the utility of the lowest possible outcome. This crucial assumption implies that the expected utility of a lottery is likely to be overvalued (undervalued) by random errors, when it is close to the utility of the lowest (highest) possible outcome. The new theory explains many stylized empirical facts such as the fourfold pattern of risk attitudes, the common consequence effect (Allais paradox), the common ratio effect and violations of betweenness. The model fits the data from ten well-known experimental studies at least as well as cumulative prospect theory.

A new decision theory is proposed to explain the violations of expected utility theory through the role of random errors. The main premise of the new theory is that individuals make random errors when they compute the expected utility of a risky lottery. When being distorted by error, the expected utility of a lottery should neither exceed the utility of the highest possible outcome nor fall below the utility of the lowest possible outcome. This crucial assumption implies that the expected utility of a lottery is likely to be overvalued (undervalued) by random errors, when it is close to the utility of the lowest (highest) possible outcome. The new theory explains many stylized empirical facts such as the fourfold pattern of risk attitudes, the common consequence effect (Allais paradox), the common ratio effect and violations of betweenness. The model fits the data from ten well-known experimental studies at least as well as cumulative prospect theory.

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38 citations in Web of Science®
44 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:June 2007
Deposited On:08 Apr 2008 09:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:22
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0895-5646
Additional Information:The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s11166-007-9009-6
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-2321

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