WP 2019-01 Statistical Power and the Individual Level Estimation of Risk Preferences

Posted On March 26, 2019
Categories Working Papers, WP 2019
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AUTHORS: Brian Albert Monroe

ABSTRACT: Accurately estimating risk preferences is of critical importance when evaluating data from many economic experiments or behavioral interactions. I conduct power analyses over two lottery batteries designed to classify individual subjects as one of a number of alternative specifications of risk preference models. I propose a conservative case in which there are only two possible alternatives for classification and find that the statistical methods employed to conduct this classification result in type I and type II errors at rates far beyond traditionally acceptable levels. Following a Bayesian approach, I additionally find that the proportion of agents in a population that employ each model critically informs the probability that subjects are correctly classified.