nep-upt New Economics Papers
on Utility Models and Prospect Theory
Issue of 2009‒04‒05
seven papers chosen by
Alexander Harin
Modern University for the Humanities

  1. Updating Ambiguity Averse Preferences By Eran Hanany; Peter Klibanoff
  2. Mean-variance inefficiency of CRRA and CARA utility functions for portfolio selection in defined contribution pension schemes By Elena Vigna
  3. Adverse Selection and Risk Aversion in Capital Markets By Braido, Luis; da Costa, Carlos; Dahlby, Bev
  4. Legal Interpretative Process and Litigants’Cognitive Biases By Bruno Deffains; Eric Langlais
  5. Ordering infinite utility streams comes at the cost of a non-Ramsey set By Luc LAUWERS
  6. Risk Attitude and Investment Decisions across European Countries : Are Women More Risk Averse Investors Than Men? By Oleg Badunenko; Nataliya Barasinska; Dorothea Schäfer
  7. Entrepreneurial Finance and Non-diversifiable Risk By Hui Chen; Jianjun Miao; Neng Wang

  1. By: Eran Hanany; Peter Klibanoff
    Abstract: Dynamic consistency leads to Bayesian updating under expected utility. We ask what it implies for the updating of more general preferences. In this paper, we charac- terize dynamically consistent update rules for preference models satisfying ambiguity aversion. This characterization extends to regret-based models as well. As an appli- cation of our general result, we characterize dynamically consistent updating for two important models of ambiguity averse preferences: the ambiguity averse smooth am- biguity preferences (Klibanoff, Marinacci and Mukerji [Econometrica 73 2005, pp. 1849-1892]) and the variational preferences (Maccheroni, Marinacci and Rustichini [Econometrica 74 2006, pp. 1447-1498]). The latter includes max-min expected utility (Gilboa and Schmeidler [Journal of Mathematical Economics 18 1989, pp. 141-153]) and the multiplier preferences of Hansen and Sargent [American Economic Review 91(2) 2001, pp. 60-66] as special cases. For smooth ambiguity preferences, we also identify a simple rule that is shown to be the unique dynamically consistent rule among a large class of rules that may be expressed as reweightings of Bayes's rule.
    Keywords: Updating, Dynamic Consistency, Ambiguity, Regret, Ellsberg, Bayesian, Consequentialism, Smooth Ambiguity
    JEL: D81 D83 D91
    Date: 2008–07
  2. By: Elena Vigna
    Abstract: We consider the portfolio selection problem in the accumulation phase of a defined contribution pension scheme in continuous time, and compare the mean-variance and the expected utility maximization approaches. Using the embedding technique pioneered by Zhou and Li (2000) we first find the efficient frontier of portfolios in the two-assets financial market. Then, using standard stochastic optimal control we find the optimal portfolios derived via expected utility for popular utility functions. As a main result, we prove that the optimal portfolios derived with the CARA and CRRA utility functions are not mean-variance efficient. As a corollary, we prove that this holds also in the standard portfolio selection problem in the Black-Scholes model. These results can be extended to the n assets case, via the mutual fund theorem. We provide a natural measure of inefficiency based on the difference between optimal portfolio variance and minimal variance, and we show its dependence on risk aversion, Sharpe ratio of the risky asset, time horizon, initial wealth and contribution rate. Numerical examples illustrate the extent of inefficiency of CARA and CRRA utility functions in defined contribution pension schemes.
    Keywords: Mean-variance approach, efficient frontier, expected utility maximization, defined contribution pension scheme, portfolio selection, risk aversion, Sharpe ratio
    JEL: C61 D81 G11 G23
    Date: 2009
  3. By: Braido, Luis (Fundacao Getulio Vargas); da Costa, Carlos (Fundacao Getulio Vargas); Dahlby, Bev (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We generalize the Boadway and Keen (2006) model of adverse selection in a capital market to allow for risk aversion on the part of entrepreneurs. We show that the Boadway and Keen conclusion-that adverse selection leads to excessive investment-does not necessarily hold when entrepreneurs are risk averse. We use their framework, with the additional assumption of risk aversion, to analyze the effect of policies that would reduce entrepreneurs' reliance on debt or equity financing by outside investors. We show that such policies, by exposing entrepreneurs to more down-side risk, may reduce the level of investment in risky projects, increase inequality and potentially reduce social welfare.
    Keywords: adverse selection; capital markets; inefficiency; risk and entrepreneurship
    JEL: D82 G14 O16 O17
    Date: 2009–03–16
  4. By: Bruno Deffains; Eric Langlais
    Abstract: For contemporary legal theory, law is essentially an interpretative and hermeneutics practice (Ackerman (1991), Horwitz (1992)). A straightforward consequence is that legal disputes between parties are motivated by their divergent interpretations regarding what the law says on their case. This point of view fits well with the growing evidence showing that litigants’ cognitive performances display optimistic bias or self-serving bias (Babcock and Lowenstein (1997)). This paper provides a theoretical analysis of the influence of such a cognitive bias on pretrial negotiations. However, we also consider that this effect is mitigated because of the litigants’ confidence in their own ability to predict the verdict; we model this issue assuming that litigants are risk averse in the sense of Yaari (1987), i.e. they display a kind of (rational) probability distortion which is also well documented in experimental economics. In a model à la Bebcuck (1984), we show that the consequences of self-serving bias are partially consistent with the "optimistic model", but that parties’ risk aversion has more ambiguous/unpredictable effects. These results contribute to explaining that the beliefs in the result of the trial are not sufficient in themselves to understand the behaviors of litigants. As suggested by legal theory, the confidence the parties have in their beliefs is probably more important.
    Keywords: litigation, self-serving bias, risk aversion
    JEL: D81 K42
    Date: 2009
  5. By: Luc LAUWERS
    Abstract: The existence of a Paretian and finitely anonymous ordering in the set of infinite utility streams implies the existence of a non-Ramsey set (a nonconstructive object whose existence requires the axiom of choice). Therefore, each Paretian and finitely anonymous quasi-ordering either is incomplete or does not have an explicit description. Hence, the possibility results of Svensson (1980) and of Bossert, Sprumont, and Suzumura (2006) do require the axiom of choice.
    Keywords: Intergenerational justice; Pareto; Multi-period social choice; Axiom of choice; Constructivism.
    JEL: D60 D70 D90
    Date: 2009–02
  6. By: Oleg Badunenko; Nataliya Barasinska; Dorothea Schäfer
    Abstract: This study questions the popular stereotype that women are more risk averse than men in their investment decisions. The analysis is based on micro-level data from large-scale surveys of private households in five European countries. We enrich the conventional approach to examination of gender differences by explicitly controlling for investors' self-perceived risk aversion. Our results confirm the gender stereotype only partially. We find that women are less likely to hold risky assets. However, female owners of risky assets allocate an equal or even a higher share of their wealth to these assets than men. Our findings suggest that especially in case of women, the declared attitude toward financial risks may be misleading as it does not necessarily reflect the actual willingness to bear risks.
    Keywords: gender, risk aversion, financial behavior
    JEL: G11 J16
    Date: 2009
  7. By: Hui Chen; Jianjun Miao; Neng Wang
    Abstract: Entrepreneurs face significant non-diversifiable business risks. We build a dynamic incomplete markets model of entrepreneurial finance to demonstrate the important implications of nondiversifiable risks for entrepreneurs' interdependent consumption, portfolio allocation, financing, investment, and business exit decisions. The optimal capital structure is determined by a generalized tradeoff model where leverage via risky non-recourse debt provides significant diversification benefits. More risk-averse entrepreneurs default earlier, but also choose higher leverage, even though leverage makes his equity more risky. Non-diversified entrepreneurs demand both systematic and idiosyncratic risk premium. Cash-out option and external equity further improve diversification and raise the entrepreneur’s valuation of the firm. Finally, entrepreneurial risk aversion can overturn the risk-shifting incentives induced by risky debt.
    JEL: E2 G11 G31 G32
    Date: 2009–04

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