Flexible Approximation of Subjective Expectations Using Probability Questions: An Application to the Investment Game

CIRPEE Working Paper No. 07-34

41 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2007

See all articles by Charles Bellemare

Charles Bellemare

Université Laval - Département d'Économique; Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Luc Bissonnette

Université Laval

Sabine Kröger

Université Laval - Département d'Économique

Abstract

We use spline interpolation to approximate the subjective cumulative distribution function of an economic agent over the future realization of a continuous (possibly censored) random variable. The method proposed exploits information collected using a small number of probability questions on expectations and requires a weak prior knowledge of the shape of the underlying distribution. We find that eliciting 4 or 5 points on the cumulative distribution function of an agent is sufficient to accurately approximate a wide variety of underlying distributions. We show that estimated moments of general functions of the random variable can be computed analytically and/or using standard simulation techniques. We illustrate the usefulness of the method by estimating a simple model to asses the impact of expectations on investment decisions in a commonly used trust game.

Keywords: approximation of subjective expectations, spline interpolation, decision making under uncertainty

JEL Classification: Z13, C90, C10, D39

Suggested Citation

Bellemare, Charles and Bissonnette, Luc and Kroger, Sabine, Flexible Approximation of Subjective Expectations Using Probability Questions: An Application to the Investment Game. CIRPEE Working Paper No. 07-34, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1021787

Charles Bellemare (Contact Author)

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE)

Pavillon De Sève
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Luc Bissonnette

Université Laval ( email )

Université Laval, Pavillon J-A-DeSève, #2264
Québec, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1V0A6
Canada

Sabine Kroger

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

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