ABSTRACT. In economic decisions we often have to deal with uncertain events for which no probabilities are known. Several normative models have been proposed for such decisions. Empirical studies have usually been qualitative, or they estimated ambiguity aversion through one single number. This paper introduces the source method, a tractable method for quantitatively analyzing uncertainty empirically that can capture the richness of ambiguity attitudes. The theoretical key in our method is the distinction between different sources of uncertainty, within which subjective (choice-based) probabilities can still be defined. Source functions convert those subjective probabilities into willingness to bet. We apply our method in an experiment, where we do not commit to particular ambiguity attitudes but let the data speak.

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The American Economic Review
Erasmus Research Institute of Management