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Risk and Rationality: Uncovering Heterogeneity in Probability Distortion


Bruhin, Adrian; Fehr-Duda, Helga; Epper, Thomas (2009). Risk and Rationality: Uncovering Heterogeneity in Probability Distortion. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 414, University of Zurich.

Abstract

It has long been recognized that there is considerable heterogeneity in individual risk taking behavior but little is known about the distributionnof risk taking types. We present a parsimonious characterization of risk taking behavior by estimating a finite mixture regression model for three different experimental data sets, two Swiss and one Chinese, over a large number of real gains and losses. We find two distinct types of individuals: In all three data sets, the choices of roughly 80% of the subjects exhibitnsignificant deviations from linear probability weighting, consistent with prospect theory. 20% of the subjects weight probabilities near linearly and behave essentially as expected value maximizers. Moreover, individuals are cleanly assigned to one type with probabilities close to unity. The reliability and robustness of our classification suggest using a mix of preference theories in applied economic modeling.

Abstract

It has long been recognized that there is considerable heterogeneity in individual risk taking behavior but little is known about the distributionnof risk taking types. We present a parsimonious characterization of risk taking behavior by estimating a finite mixture regression model for three different experimental data sets, two Swiss and one Chinese, over a large number of real gains and losses. We find two distinct types of individuals: In all three data sets, the choices of roughly 80% of the subjects exhibitnsignificant deviations from linear probability weighting, consistent with prospect theory. 20% of the subjects weight probabilities near linearly and behave essentially as expected value maximizers. Moreover, individuals are cleanly assigned to one type with probabilities close to unity. The reliability and robustness of our classification suggest using a mix of preference theories in applied economic modeling.

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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:07 Dec 2017 10:02
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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