Risk Premiums and Benefit Measures for Generalized-Expected-Utility Theories

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Abstract

Standard tools for the analysis of economic problems involving uncertainty, including risk premiums, certainty equivalents and the notions of absolute and relative risk aversion, are developed without making specific assumptions on functional form beyond the basic requirements of monotonicity, transitivity, continuity, and the presumption that individuals prefer certainty to risk. Individuals are not required to display probabilistic sophistication. The approach relies on the distance and benefit functions to characterize preferences relative to a given state-contingent vector of outcomes. The distance and benefit functions are used to derive absolute and relative risk premiums and to characterize preferences exhibiting constant absolute risk aversion (CARA) and constant relative risk aversion (CRRA). A generalization of the notion of Schur-concavity is presented. If preferences are generalized Schur concave, the absolute and relative risk premiums are generalized Schur convex, and the certainty equivalents are generalized Schur concave.

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