Caltech Home > HSS Home > Research > Social Sciences Research > Working Papers > Approximate Expected Utility Rationalization
open search form

Approximate Expected Utility Rationalization

Paper Number: 1441
Creation Date: 06/22/2018

We propose a new measure of deviations from expected utility, given data on economic choices under risk and uncertainty. In a revealed preference setup, and given a positive number e, we provide a characterization of the datasets whose deviation (in beliefs, utility, or perceived prices) is within e of expected utility theory. The number e can then be used as a distance to the theory. We apply our methodology to three recent large-scale experiments. Many subjects in those experiments are consistent with utility aximization, but not expected utility maximization. The correlation of our measure with demographics is also interesting, and provides new and intuitive findings on expected utility.

Paper Length: 52
Paper: sswp1441.pdf