Reference-Dependent Risk Attitudes
Abstract:We use Koőszegi and Rabin's (2006) model of reference-dependent utility, and an extension of it that applies to decisions with delayed consequences, to study preferences over monetary risk. Because our theory equates the reference point with recent probabilistic beliefs about outcomes, it predicts specific ways in which the environment influences attitudes toward modest-scale risk. It replicates "classical" prospect theory—including the prediction of distaste for insuring losses—when exposure to risk is a surprise, but implies first-order risk aversion when a risk, and the possibility of insuring it, are anticipated. A prior expectation to take on risk decreases aversion to both the anticipated and additional risk. For large-scale risk, the model allows for standard "consumption utility" to dominate reference dependent "gain-loss utility," generating nearly identical risk aversion across situations.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2007
More about this publication?
- The American Economic Review is a general-interest economics journal. The journal is published quarterly and contains articles on a broad range of topics. Established in 1911, the AER is among the nation's oldest and most respected scholarly journals in the economics profession.
- Editorial Board
- Information for Authors
- Subscribe to this Title
- Membership Information
- Terms & Conditions
- e-Publications for AEA Members
- Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites