The influence of probabilities on the response mode bias in utility elicitation

Theory and Decision 69 (3):395-416 (2010)
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The response mode bias, in which subjects exhibit different risk attitudes when assessing certainty equivalents versus indifference probabilities, is a well-known phenomenon in the assessment of utility functions. In this empirical study, we develop and apply a cardinal measure of risk attitudes to analyze not only the existence, but also the strength of this phenomenon. Since probability levels involved in decision problems are already known to have a strong impact on behavior, we use this approach to study the impact of probabilities on the extent of the response mode bias. We find that the direction in which probabilities influence measured risk aversion is the opposite in the certainty equivalence (CE) method versus in the probability equivalence (PE) method. Utilizing the CE elicitation approach leads to an increase of risk seeking for gambles involving high probabilities. For the PE method, subjects tend to behave risk averse with gambles of high probabilities. This behavior is reversed in the gain domain. This “tailwhip” effect is consistently replicated in several experiments, involving both loss and gain domains of lotteries



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References found in this work

Theory of Games and Economic Behavior.John Von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern - 1944 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Choices, Values, and Frames.Daniel Kahneman & Amos Tversky (eds.) - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Intransitivity of Preferences.Amos Tversky - 1969 - Psychological Review 76 (1):31-48.

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