Can one unscramble an omelet?: China's economic reform in by Yuan-li Wu, Richard Y. C. Yin

By Yuan-li Wu, Richard Y. C. Yin

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Extra resources for Can one unscramble an omelet?: China's economic reform in theory and practice

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In fact, 22% of subjects traded. The fact that so few chose to trade implies an exaggerated preference for the good in their endowment, or a distaste for losing what they have. A seminal demonstration of an “endowment effect” in buying and selling prices was conducted by Kahneman et al. (1990). They endowed half of the subjects in a group with coffee mugs. Those who had mugs were asked the lowest price at which they would sell. Those who did not get mugs were asked how much they would pay. There should be essentially no difference between selling and buying prices.

Of interest in this context is that anchoring effects have also been demonstrated for choices as opposed to judgments. In one study, subjects were asked whether their certainty equivalent for a gamble was greater than or less than a number chosen at random and then were asked to specify their actual certainty equivalent for the gamble (Johnson and Schkade 1989). Again, the stated values were correlated significantly with the random value. In a recent study of anchoring, Ariely, Loewenstein, and Prelec (2003) sold valuable consumer products (a $100 wireless keyboard, a fancy computer mouse, bottles of wine, and a luxurious box of chocolate) to postgraduate (MBA) business students.

Loss aversion is more realistic than the standard continuous, concave, utility function over wealth, as demonstrated by hundreds of experiments. Loss aversion has proved useful in identifying where predictions of standard theories will go wrong: Loss-aversion can help account for the equity premium puzzle in finance and asymmetry in price elasticities. ) Loss aversion can also be parameterized in a general way, as the ratio of the marginal disutility of a loss relative to the marginal utility of a some of the essential features of neural functioning, bear little resemblance to models based on utility maximization, yet are reaching the point where they are able to predict many judgmental and behavioral phenomena.

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