A Theory of Choice Bracketing under Risk
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Aggregating risks from multiple sources can be complex and demanding, and decision makers usually adopt heuristics to simplify the decision process. This paper axiomatizes two such heuristics, narrow bracketing and correlation neglect, by relaxing the standard independence axiom in the expected utility benchmark. Our representation theorem allows for either narrow bracketing, or correlation neglect, or both of them. The flexibility of our framework allows for applications in various setups. For example, we accommodate the experimental evidence in narrow bracketing and risk aversion over small gambles with background risk. In intertemporal choices, we show how our framework unifies three seemingly distinct models in the literature and introduce a new model that can satisfy many desirable normative properties in time preferences simultaneously, including indifference to temporal resolution of uncertainty, dynamic consistency and separation of time and risk preferences. One special class of the model shares the same predictions as Epstein and Zin (1989) in macroeconomics and finance applications, and is immune to the critique in Epstein, Farhi, and Strzalecki (2014).
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