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Rationality on the Rise: Why Relative Risk Aversion Increases with Stake Size


Fehr-Duda, Helga; Bruhin, Adrian; Epper, Thomas; Schubert, Renate (2009). Rationality on the Rise: Why Relative Risk Aversion Increases with Stake Size. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 413, University of Zurich.

Abstract

How does risk tolerance vary with stake size? This important question cannot be adequately answered if framing effects, nonlinear probability weighting, and heterogeneity of preference types are neglected. We show that the increase in relative risk aversion over gains cannot be captured by the curvature of the utility function. It is driven predominantly by a change in probability weighting of a majority group of individuals who exhibit more rational probability weighting at high stakes. Contrary to gains, noncoherent change in relative risk aversion is observed for losses. These results not onlynchallenge expected utility theory, but also prospect theory.

Abstract

How does risk tolerance vary with stake size? This important question cannot be adequately answered if framing effects, nonlinear probability weighting, and heterogeneity of preference types are neglected. We show that the increase in relative risk aversion over gains cannot be captured by the curvature of the utility function. It is driven predominantly by a change in probability weighting of a majority group of individuals who exhibit more rational probability weighting at high stakes. Contrary to gains, noncoherent change in relative risk aversion is observed for losses. These results not onlynchallenge expected utility theory, but also prospect theory.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:May 2009
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 20:09
Last Modified:12 Aug 2017 12:45
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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