Journal Article

Exploring Higher Order Risk Effects

Cary Deck and Harris Schlesinger

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 77, issue 4, pages 1403-1420
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online October 2010 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI:
Exploring Higher Order Risk Effects

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Precautionary saving has been linked to the property of prudence, and the property of temperance has been used to show how the presence of an unavoidable risk affects one's behaviour towards a second risk. These two higher order risk effects also play key roles in aversion to negative skewness and to kurtosis, respectively. This article presents a laboratory experiment to determine whether subjects are prudent and/or temperate. The experiment is based upon preferences over lottery pairs in simple 50–50 gambles. Subjects are asked in which of two states of nature they would prefer to receive a zero-mean gamble. For prudence, the choices are between a lower and higher wealth outcome. For temperance, the choices are between a state with no other risk and a state with a second (independent) risk. The results show behavioural evidence for prudence, but they also show evidence of intemperate behaviour. Implications of these results for both expected-utility and non-expected-utility models are examined.

Journal Article.  9053 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economics

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