'Stochastically More Risk Averse:' A Contextual Theory of Stochastic Discrete Choice Under Risk

Document Type


Publication Date



Microeconometric treatments of discrete choice under risk are typically homoscedastic latent variable models. Specifically, choice probabilities are given by preference functional differences (given by expected utility, rank-dependent utility, etc.) embedded in cumulative distribution functions. This approach has a problem: Estimated utility function parameters meant to represent agents’ degree of risk aversion in the sense of Pratt (1964) do not imply a suggested “stochastically more risk averse” relation within such models. A new heteroscedastic model called “contextual utility” remedies this, and estimates in one data set suggest it explains (and especially predicts) as well as or better than other stochastic models.


This article was originally published in Journal of Econometrics, volume 162, issue 1, in 2011.

The link above is to the authoritative publisher’s version, as noted by the Economic Science Institute, and may reside behind a paywall. If denied access, Chapman students, faculty, and staff should try this link.

Peer Reviewed