Risk Averters that Love Risk? Marginal Risk Aversion in Comparison to a Reference Gamble

15 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2020

See all articles by David R. Just

David R. Just

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Travis J. Lybbert

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

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Date Written: August 2009

Abstract

We propose an analytical distinction between standard risk aversion based on the valuation of a single gamble and marginal risk aversion based on the change in valuation between two gambles. We measure marginal risk aversion in two dimensions—mean and variance. Data from a field experiment is used to study marginal risk aversion. Our results suggest that individuals rely on a reference gamble when assessing marginal risk. Individual responses to marginal changes in mean and variance are nearly identical in direction and magnitude—suggesting that information on both standard and marginal risk aversion is needed to accurately model behavior.

Keywords: certainty effect, marginal risk aversion, probability weighting, risk aversion

Suggested Citation

Just, David R. and Lybbert, Travis J., Risk Averters that Love Risk? Marginal Risk Aversion in Comparison to a Reference Gamble (August 2009). American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 91, Issue 3, pp. 612-626, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3585817 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8276.2009.01273.x

David R. Just (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States
607-255-2086 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

Travis J. Lybbert

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

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