What can multiple price lists really tell us about risk preferences?


Multiple price lists have emerged as a simple and popular method for eliciting risk preferences. Despite their popularity, a key downside of multiple price lists has not been widely recognized — namely that the approach is unlikely to generate sufficient information to accurately identify different dimensions of risk preferences. The most popular theories of decision making under risk posit that preferences for risk are driven by a combination of two factors: the curvature of the utility function and the extent to which probabilities are weighted non-linearly. In this paper, we show that the widely used multiple price list introduced by Holt and Laury (The American Economic Review 92(5) 1644–1655 2002) is likely more accurate at eliciting the shape of the probability weighting function, and we construct a different multiple price list that is likely more accurate at eliciting the shape of the utility function. We show that by combining information from different multiple price lists, greater predictive performance can be achieved.

Journal of Risk and Uncertainty
Andreas C. Drichoutis
Andreas C. Drichoutis
Associate Professor of Consumer Behavior

My research interests are focused on, but not limited to, the economics of nutrition/obesity, contingent valuation and experimental auctions methods to elicit consumers’ valuations, choice under risk, inter-temporal decision making and applied demand analysis. Most of my research applies experimental economics methods to answer questions relevant for agricultural economists and decision scientists.