Your money and your life: risk attitudes over gains and losses

from Health Economics at http://bit.ly/2YunQWS on July 29, 2019 at 10:11AM


Prospect theory is the most influential descriptive alternative to the orthodox model of rational choice under risk and uncertainty, in terms of empirical analyses of some of its principal parameters and as a consideration in behavioural public policy. Yet the most distinctive implication of the theory – a fourfold predicted pattern of risk attitudes called the reflection effect – has been infrequently studied and with mixed results over money outcomes, and has never been completely tested over health outcomes. This article reports tests of reflection over money and health outcomes defined by life years gained from treatment. With open valuation exercises, the results suggest qualified support for the reflection effect over money outcomes and strong support over health outcomes. However, in pairwise choice questions, reflection was substantially ameliorated over life years, remaining significant only for treatments that offered short additional durations of life.