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Hierarchies and the self-control of risk attitude

Authors Wathieu, Luc HKUST affiliated (currently or previously).
Issue Date 1994-12
Source Working Paper Series, Department of Marketing, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology , 1994, no. MKTG 95.031
Summary In hierarchies, top members are not continuously informed about the intermediary outcomes of their policies. This feature of organizational decision making is often regarded as a drawback caused by communication costs. On the contrary, we argue that such information decentralization creates a valuable interface between a decision maker and his environment. We assume a reference-dependent utility function à la Kahneman and Tversky. Personal contact with an intermediary outcome provokes a shift of reference point, and thereby a change of attitude towards the forthcoming alternative risks. Information decentralization stabilizes the reference point. We characterize classes of dynamic choice situations where this effect should prove desirable. Then, we show that hierarchical systems can help decision makers overcome their personal conservative tendencies.
Language English
Format Working paper
Access Find@HKUST
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