Prospect Theory as a Model of Risky Choice: Descriptive and Normative Assessments

Posted On February 12, 2019

October 7, 2019 – October 8, 2019

Cork, Ireland


General Information

Prospect theory, as originally developed and subsequently refined by Kahneman and Tversky, is widely regarded as the most sophisticated theoretical achievement of behavioral economics. Its great importance, especially with respect to the concepts it introduced, is beyond serious dispute. However, like any major scientific model, it is vulnerable to being interpreted as dogma, as a statement of truth that can be used as an argument-stopper and as a basis for sweeping rejection of perspectives with which it is in tension. Empirical investigations of prospect theory, both in its original (1979) articulation and its ‘cumulative’ (1992) version, that accommodates econometric identification and estimation, are equivocal in their results, certainly more interesting than straightforward ‘confirmation’ or ‘refutation.’ Additionally, important questions about prospect theory’s completeness or adequacy as a descriptive theory of choice under risk and uncertainty spill over into problems of normative assessment, about welfare and well-being, raised by behavioral and experimental economics. At a time when more and more governments and companies are adopting policies and strategies based on their interpretations of results from behavioral economics, joint assessment of prospect theory’s descriptive and normative authority is directly relevant to management of institutional, political, environmental, and personal risk. In this workshop we will bring together economists and philosophers to critically review the empirical status of prospect theory, in both original and cumulative forms, along with the implications of this status for public, corporate and household policies.

The format of the workshop will be plenary, with plenty of time for presentations and discussions.

In connection with the workshop, Glenn Harrison and Don Ross will be editing a volume on the topic of the workshop in the Research in Experimental Economics series. Submissions of papers to be considered for that volume are welcome, although that is not essential. The idea of these volumes is to collect reflective literature reviews and methodological contributions that might not appear in regular academic outlets. We particularly encourage contributions that address the descriptive validity of prospect theory when using the accepted methods of experimental economics, and that consider the normative status of different components of prospect theory. All contributions to the volume will be reviewed in the usual manner, and publication is expected in 2020. It is hoped that the workshop serves as a vehicle to collect comments on papers, to expedite the review and revision process.


Glenn Harrison (CEAR, Georgia State University) and Don Ross (University College Cork, University of Cape Town, and CEAR) are the organizers of this workshop. Funding is being provided by CEAR. For more information on CEAR, see For more information on UCC, see Standard travel and accommodation support for paper presenters will be provided. Should you have any questions, please contact Don Ross at about the substance of the workshop, and contact CEAR at with questions about participation and logistics.

There will be meals provided throughout the conference. Please contact should you have any dietary restrictions or special needs.


The workshop will be held at the Hayfield Manor Hotel, Presenters will also be accommodated at the Hayfield Manor, which is Cork’s 5-star hotel that embodies the ambient charm and historical depth of Ireland’s special culture.

Cork is the Irish Republic’s second city, European headquarters of Apple and other major companies, and famous for traditional artisanal foods, Murphy’s and Beamish stout ales, and historic architecture.


We will book rooms at the Hayfield Manor Hotel for presenters, checking in on October 6 and checking out on October 9 (unless otherwise discussed). These nights will be paid for in advance, so the only cost to you would be incidentals and any additional services you might need. If you require additional nights, please let us know, and we will coordinate with the hotel to try to accommodate as best as possible. We are holding the workshop on a Monday and Tuesday due to hotel costs being particularly high for Friday and Saturday night stays; we do not have “special rates” if someone wants to stay additional days.


Cork Airport is directly served from various airports in the United Kingdom, plus Amsterdam, Paris, and Munich. All major airline hubs abroad are connected to Dublin Airport, from which Cork is reached in about 3 hours by overland shuttle.

For more information on how to get to UCC, see

If one flies to either Dublin or Shannon with Aer Lingus or Delta, direct from the US, then on the return trip one clears US immigration in Ireland -- note that this does not apply to other U.S. carriers, as they route through Heathrow. KLM / Delta has direct flights from Amsterdam to Cork, but a more flexible schedule between Amsterdam and Dublin.

Paper Submissions

Paper submissions are no longer being accepted. The information below is the original text on paper submissions.

Submissions will be considered on a rolling basis until May 15, 2019. Extended abstracts are acceptable, providing that a full paper is made available by September 10. Submission of full papers, even in draft form, is preferred. If a paper is to be considered for the volume, the full paper must be submitted by September 10, given timelines for review, revision and preparation for publication. Submissions can be sent to, and there will be an option to indicate if the submission should be considered for the volume or just the workshop. All submissions should be in PDF, and not blinded.