The Role of Intuition and Reasoning in Driving Aversion to Risk and Ambiguity

49 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2011

See all articles by Jeffrey V. Butler

Jeffrey V. Butler

Dept. of Economics, University of California, Merced

Luigi Guiso

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF)

Tullio Jappelli

University of Naples Federico II - Department of Economics and Statistics; Center for Studies in Economics and Finance - CSEF; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: April 2011

Abstract

Using a large sample of retail investors as well as experimental data we find that risk and ambiguity aversion are positively correlated. We show the common link is decision style: intuitive thinkers tolerate more risk and ambiguity than effortful reasoners. One interpretation is that intuitive thinking confers an advantage in risky or ambiguous situations. We present supporting lab and field evidence that intuitive thinkers outperform others in uncertain environments. Finally, we find that risk and ambiguity aversion vary with individual characteristics and wealth. The wealthy are less risk averse but more ambiguity averse, which has implications for financial puzzles.

Keywords: decision theory, dual systems, intuitive thinking, Risk ambiguity, Risk aversion

JEL Classification: D81, D83

Suggested Citation

Butler, Jeffrey Vincent and Guiso, Luigi and Jappelli, Tullio, The Role of Intuition and Reasoning in Driving Aversion to Risk and Ambiguity (April 2011). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8334, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1810297

Jeffrey Vincent Butler (Contact Author)

Dept. of Economics, University of California, Merced ( email )

5200 N. Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jeffreyvbutler.org

Luigi Guiso

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ( email )

Via Sallustiana 62
Rome, 00187
Italy
+39 06 4792 4858 (Phone)
+39 06 4792 4872 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.eief.it/faculty-visitors/faculty-a-z/luigi-guiso/

Tullio Jappelli

University of Naples Federico II - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Via Cintia - Monte S. Angelo
Napoli, 80126
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.csef.it/people/jappelli.htm

Center for Studies in Economics and Finance - CSEF

University of Naples Federico II
Via Cinthia - Monte S. Angelo
Napoli, 80146
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.csef.it/people/jappelli.htm

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cepr.org/researchers/details/rschcontact.asp?IDENT=106354

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

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