Welfare with Imperfect Foreknowledge: The Case of Risk Aversion

Jorge Holzer and Kenneth McConnell

Abstract

We study the use of discrete choice models in the context of recreation when there may be discrepancy between the anticipated (ex ante) and the experienced quality of site attributes due to imperfect information. Unlike previous literature on the topic, we relax the assumption of risk neutrality. Adopting a model with quasi-linear preferences, we characterize the disparity between ex ante and ex post utility by decomposing expected utility into a term stemming from bias in beliefs and a component representing willingness to pay for reducing uncertainty in site attributes. Our results show that ex post corrections of welfare losses are attenuated by greater dispersion in beliefs about amenities. (JEL D61, Q26)

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