Probability and Risk: Foundations and Economic Implications of Probability-Dependent Risk Preferences
Posted: 1 Sep 2012
Date Written: July 2012
A large body of evidence has documented that risk preferences depend nonlinearly on outcome probabilities. We discuss the foundations and economic consequences of probability-dependent risk preferences and offer a practitioner's guide to understanding and modeling probability dependence. We argue that probability dependence provides a unifying framework for explaining many real-world phenomena, such as the equity premium puzzle, the long-shot bias in betting markets, and households' underdiversification and their willingness to buy small-scale insurance at exorbitant prices. Recent findings indicate that probability dependence is not just a feature of laboratory data, but is indeed manifest in financial, insurance, and betting markets. The neglect of probability dependence may prevent researchers from understanding and predicting important phenomena.
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