# Intermediate Micro. Expected Utility

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1 Intermediate Micro Expected Utility Workhorse model of intermediate micro Utility maximization problem Consumers Max U(x,y) subject to the budget constraint, I=P x x + P y y Health Economics Spring 2015 Problem is made easier by the fact that we assume all parameters are known Consumers know prices and income Know exactly the quality of the product simple optimization problem 1 2 Many cases, there is uncertainty about some variables Uncertainty about income? What are prices now? What will prices be in the future? Uncertainty about quality of the product? This section, will review utility theory under uncertainty Will emphasize the special role of insurance in a generic sense Why insurance is good -- consumption smoothing across states of the world How much insurance should people purchase? Applications: Insurance markets may generate incentives that reduce the welfare gains of consumption smoothing Moral hazard Adverse selection 3 4 1

2 Definitions Probability - likelihood discrete event will occur n possible events, i=1,2,..n P i be the probability event i happens 0 P i 1 P 1 +P 2 +P 3 + P n =1 Probabilities can be subjective or objective, depending on the model In our work, probabilities will be know with certainty it is events that are uncertain Expected value Weighted average of possibilities, weight is probability Sum of the possibilities times probabilities x={x 1,x 2 x n } P={P 1,P 2, P n } E(x) = P 1 X 1 + P 2 X 2 + P 3 X 3 +.P n X n 5 6 Expected utility Roll of a die, all sides have (1/6) prob. What is expected roll? Suppose income is random. Two potential values (Y 1 or Y 2 ) E(x) = 1(1/6) + 2(1/6) + 6(1/6) = 3.5 Suppose you have: 25% chance of an A, 50% B, 20% C, 4% D and 1% F E[quality points] = 4(.25) + 3(.5) + 2(.2) + 1(.04) + 0(.01) = 2.94 Probabilities are either P 1 or P 2 =1-P 1 When incomes are realized, consumer will experience a particular level of income and hence utility But, looking at the problem beforehand, a person has a particular expected utility 7 8 2

3 Assumptions about utility with uncertainty However, suppose an agent is faced with choice between two different paths Choice a: Y 1 with probability P 1 and Y 2 with P 2 Choice b: Y 3 with probability P 3 and Y 4 with P 4 Example: You are presented with two option a job with steady pay or a job with huge upside income potential, but one with a chance you will be looking for another job soon How do you choose between these two options? Utility is a function of one element (income or wealth), where U = U(Y) Marginal utility is positive U' = du/dy > 0 Standard assumption, declining marginal utility U ' ' <0 Implies risk averse but we will relax this later 9 10 Utility U = f(y) Utility U b U = f(y) U 2 U 1 U a U 1 Y 1 Y 1 Y 1 +a Y 2 Y 2 +a

4 Utility U 2 U = f(y) Von Neumann-Morganstern Utility N states of the world, with incomes defined as Y 1 Y 2.Y n The probabilities for each of these states is P 1 P 2 P n U 1 A valid utility function is the expected utility of the gamble Y 1 Y 2 13 E(U) = P 1 U(Y 1 ) + P 2 U(Y 2 ). + P n U(Y n ) 14 E(U) is the sum of the possibilities times probabilities Example: 40% chance of earning \$2500/month 60% change of \$1600/month U(Y) = Y 0.5 Expected utility E(U) = P 1 U(Y 1 ) + P 2 U(Y 2 ) E(U) = 0.4(2500) (1600) 0.5 = 0.4(50) + 0.6(40) = 44 Note that expected utility in this case is very different from expected income E(Y) = 0.4(2500) + 0.6(1600) = 1960 Expected utility allows people to compare gambles Given two gambles, we assume people prefer the situation that generates the greatest expected utility People maximize expected utility

5 Example Job A: certain income of \$50K Job B: 50% chance of \$10K and 50% chance of \$90K Expected income is the same (\$50K) but in one case, income is much more certain Which one is preferred? U=ln(y) EU a = ln(50,000) = EU b = 0.5 ln(10,000) + 0.5ln(90,000) = Job (a) is preferred Another Example Job 1 40% chance of \$2500, 60% of \$1600 E(Y 1 ) = 0.4* *1600 = \$1960 E(U 1 ) = (0.4)(2500) (0.6)(1600) 0.5 =44 Job 2 25% chance of \$5000, 75% of \$1000 E(Y 2 ) =.25(5000) +.75(1000) = \$2000 E(U 2 ) = 0.25(5000) (1000) 0.5 = 41.4 Job 1 is preferred to 2, even though 2 has higher The Importance of Marginal Utility: The St Petersburg Paradox Pot starts at \$2. Flip a coin and if a head appears, the pot doubles. If tails appears, you win the pot and the game ends. So, if you get H, H, H T, you win \$16 What would you be willing to pay to play this game? expected income

6 Probabilities? Pr(h)=Pr(t) = 0.5 All events are independent Pr(h on 2 nd h on 1 st ) = Pr(h on 1 st ) Recall definition of independence If A and B and independent events Pr (A B) = Pr(A)Pr(B) Note, Pr(first tail on kth toss) = Pr(h on 1 st )Pr(h on 2 nd ) Pr(t on kth)= (1/2)(1/2).(1/2) = (1/2) k What is the expected pot on the kth trial? 2 on 1 st or on 2 nd or on 3 rd, or 2 3 So the payoff on the k th is 2 k What is the expected value of the gamble E = (1/2)\$2 1 + (1/2) 2 \$2 2 + (1/2) 3 \$2 3 + (1/2) 4 \$2 4 1 k E 2 1 k 1 2 k 1 The expected payout is infinite k Round Winnings Probability 5 th \$ th \$1, th \$32, E-5 20 th \$1,048, E-7 25 th \$33,554, E

7 Suppose Utility is U=Y 0.5? What is E[U]? How to represent graphically E k k/2 k/2 1/2 1/ k k 2 2 k 1 k 1 k/2 k/2 k/2 1 1 k / k k 1 2 k 1 2 k 1 1 Can show that k k 25 Probability P 1 of having Y 1 (1-P 1 ) of having Y 2 U 1 and U 2 are utility that one would receive if they received Y 1 and Y 2 respectively E(Y) =P 1 Y 1 + (1-P 1 )Y 2 = Y 3 U 3 is utility they would receive if they had income Y 3 with certainty 26 Utility U 1 U 3 U 4 U 2 a c b U(Y) Notice that E(U) is a weighted average of utilities in the good and bad states of the world E(U) = P 1 U(Y 1 ) + (1-P 1 )U(Y 2 ) The weights sum to 1 (the probabilities) Draw a line from points (a,b) Represent all the possible weighted averages of U(Y 1 ) and U(Y 2 ) What is the one represented by this gamble? Y 2 Y 3 =E(Y) Y

8 Draw vertical line from E(Y) to the line segment. This is E(U) U 4 is Expected utility U 4 = E(U) = P 1 U(Y 1 ) + (1-P 1 )U(Y 2 ) Suppose offered two jobs Job A: Has chance of a high (Y 1 ) and low (Y 2 ) wages Job B: Has chance of high (Y 3 ) and low (Y 4 ) wages Expected income from both jobs is the same P a and P b are the probabilities of getting the high wage situation P a Y 1 + (1-P a )Y 2 = P b Y 3 + (1-P b )Y 4 =E(Y) Numeric Example Job A 20% chance of \$150,000 80% chance of \$20,000 E(Y) = 0.2(150K) + 0.8(20K) = \$46K Utility U b U a U(Y) Job B 60% chance of \$50K 40% chance of \$40K E(Y) = 0.6(50K) + 0.4(40K) = \$46K 31 Y 2 Y 4 E(Y) Y 3 Y

9 Notice that Job A and B have the same expected income Job A is riskier bigger downside for Job A Prefer Job B (Why? Will answer in a moment) The prior example about the two jobs is instructive. Two jobs, same expected income, very different expected utility People prefer the job with the lower risk, even though they have the same expected income People prefer to shed risk to get rid of it. How much are they willing to pay to shed risk? Example Suppose have \$200,000 home (wealth). Small chance that a fire will damage you house. If does, will generate \$75,000 in loss (L) U(W) = ln(w) Prob of a loss is 0.02 or 2% Wealth in good state = W Wealth in bad state = W-L E(W) = (1-P)W + P(W-L) E(W) = 0.98(200,000) (125,000) = \$198,500 E(U) = (1-P) ln(w) + P ln(w-l) E(U) = 0.98 ln(200k) ln(200k-75k) =

10 Suppose you can add a fire detection/prevention system to your house. This would reduce the chance of a bad event to 0 but it would cost you \$C to install What is the most you are willing to pay for the security system? E(U) in the current situation is Utility with the security system is U(W-C) Set U(W-C) equal to and solve for C ln(w-c) = Recall that e ln(x) = x Raise both sides to the e e ln(w-c) = W-C = e = 198, , ,128 = \$372 Expected loss is \$1500 Would be willing to pay \$372 above the expected loss of to avoid that loss Utility U 1 U 4 U 2 Risk Premium d c a b U(W) Will earn Y 1 with probability p 1 Generates utility U 1 Will earn Y 2 with probability p 2 =1-p 1 Generates utility U 2 E(I) =p 1 Y 1 + (1-p 1 )Y 2 = Y 3 Line (ab) is a weighted average of U 1 and U 2 Note that expected utility is also a weighted average A line from E(Y) to the line (ab) give E(U) for given E(Y) W-L Y 4 Y 3 =E(W) W Wealth

11 Take the expected income, E(Y). Draw a line to (ab). The height of this line is E(U). E(U) at E(Y) is U 4 Suppose income is know with certainty at I 3. Notice that utility would be U 3, which is greater that U 4 Look at Y 4. Note that the Y 4 <Y 3 =E(Y) but these two situations generate the same utility one is expected, one is known with certainty The line segment (cd) is the Risk Premium. It is the amount a person is willing to pay to avoid the risky situation. If you offered a person the gamble of Y 3 or income Y 4, they would be indifferent. Therefore, people are willing to sacrifice cash to shed risk Some numbers Person has a job that has uncertain income 50% chance of making \$30K, U(30K) = 18 50% chance of making \$10K, U(10K) = 10 Another job with certain income of \$16K Assume U(\$16K)=14 E(I) = (0.5)(\$30K) + (0.05)(\$10K) = \$20K E(U) = 0.5U(30K) + 0.5U(10K) = 14 Expected utility. Weighted average of U(30) and U(10). E(U) = 14 Notice that a gamble that gives expected income of \$20K is equal in value to a certain income of only \$16K This person dislikes risk. Indifferent between certain income of \$16 and uncertain income with expected value of \$20 Utility of certain \$20 is a lot higher than utility of uncertain income with expected value of \$

12 Utility c 10 a d U = f(i) b Although both jobs provide the same expected income, the person would prefer the guaranteed \$20K. Why? Because of our assumption about diminishing marginal utility In the good state of the world, the gain from \$20K to \$30K is not as valued as the 1 st \$10 In the bad state, because the first \$10K is valued more than the last \$10K, you lose lots of utils. \$10 \$16 \$20 \$ Example Notice also that the person is indifferent between a job with \$16K in certain income and \$20,000 in uncertain They are willing to sacrifice up to \$4000 in income to reduce risk, risk premium U = y 0.5 Job with certain income \$400 week U= =20 Can take another job that 40% chance of \$900/week, U=30 60% chance of \$100/week, U=10 E(I) = 420, E(U) = 0.4(30) + 0.6(10) =

13 Utility c 10 a \$76 d U = f(i) b Notice that utility from certain income stream is higher even though expected income is lower What is the risk premium?? What certain income would leave the person with a utility of 18? U=Y 0.5 So if 18 = Y 0.5, 18 2 = Y =324 Person is willing to pay = \$76 to avoid moving to the risky job \$100 \$324 \$420 \$ Risk Loving The desire to shed risk is due to the assumption of declining marginal utility of income Consider the next situation. The graph shows increasing marginal utility of income U`(Y 1 ) > U`(Y 2 ) even though Y 1 >Y 2 Utility U = f(y) 51 Y 1 Y

14 Utility U = f(y) U 1 U 3 U 4 What does this imply about tolerance for risk? Notice that at E(Y) = Y 3, expected utility is U 3. Utility from a certain stream of income at Y 3 would generate U 4. Note that U 3 >U 4 This person prefers an uncertain stream of Y 3 instead of a certain stream of Y 3 This person is risk loving. Again, the result is driven by the assumption are U`` U 2 Y 2 Y 3 =E(Y) Y Risk Neutral If utility function is linear, the marginal utility of income is the same for all values of income U ' >0 U ' ' =0 The uncertain income E(Y) and the certain income Y 3 generate the same utility This person is considered risk neutral We usually make the assumption firms are risk neutral Example 25% chance of \$100 75% chance of \$1000 E[Y] = 0.25(100) (1000) = \$775 U = Y Compare to certain stream of \$

15 Utility U 1 U 3 =U 4 U = a+by Benefits of insurance Assume declining marginal utility Person dislikes risk They are willing to receive lower certain income rather than higher expected income Firms can capitalize on the dislike for risk by helping people shed risk via insurance U 2 Y 2 Y 3 =E(y) Y Simple insurance example Suppose income is know (Y 1 ) but random --shocks can reduce income House or car is damaged Can pay \$ to repair, return you to the normal state of world L is the loss if the bad event happens Probability of loss is P 1 Expected utility without insurance is E(U) = (1-P 1 )U(Y 1 ) + P 1 U(Y 1 -L) Suppose you can buy insurance that costs you PREM. The insurance pay you to compensate for the loss L. In good state, income is Y-Prem In bad state, paid PREM, lose L but receive PAYMENT, therefore, income is Y-Prem-L+Payment For now, lets assume PAYMENT=L, so in the bad state is also Y-Prem

16 Notice that insurance has made income certain. You will always have income of Y-PREM What is the most this person will pay for insurance? The expected loss is p 1 L Expected income is E(Y) The expected utility is U 2 People would always be willing to pay a premium that equaled the expected loss But they are also willing to pay a premium to shed risk (line cd) The maximum amount they are willing to pay is expected loss + risk premium Utility U 2 d Willingness to pay for insurance c Suppose income is \$50K, and there is a 5% chance of having a car accident that will generate \$15,000 in loss Expected loss is.05(15k) = \$750 U = ln(y) Some properties of logs Y=ln(x) then e y = exp(y) = x Y=ln(x a ) = a ln(x) Y=ln(xz) = ln(x) + ln(z) Y-L Y 2 E(Y) Y

17 E(U) = P ln(y-l) + (1-P)ln(Y) E(U) = 0.05 ln(35,000) ln(50,000) E(U) = 10.8 What is the most someone will pay for insurance? People would purchase insurance so long as utility with certainty is at least 10.8 (expected utility without insurance) U a =U(Y Prem) 10.8 Ln(Y-PREM) 10.8 Y-PREM = exp(10.8) PREM =Y-exp(10.8) = 50,000 49,021 = Utility Recall that the expected loss is \$750 but this person is willing to pay more than the expected loss to avoid the risk Pay \$750 (expected loss), plus the risk premium (\$979- \$750) = 229 U 2 d \$229 c 67 \$35,000 \$49,021 \$49,250 \$50,

18 Supply of Insurance Suppose there are a lot of people with the same situation as in the previous slide Each of these people have a probability of loss P and when a loss occurs, they have L expenses A firm could collect money from as many people as possible in advance. If bad event happens, they pay back a specified amount. Firms are risk neutral, so they are interested in expected profits Expected profits = revenues costs Revenues are known Some of the costs are random (e.g., exactly how many claims you will pay) Think of the profits made on sales to one person A person buys a policy that will pay them q dollars (q L) back if the event occurs To buy this insurance, person will pay a dollars per dollar of coverage Cost per policy is fixed t Revenues = aq a is the price per dollar of coverage Costs =pq +t For every dollar of coverage (q) expect to pay this p percent of time E(π) = aq pq t Let assume a perfectly competitive market, so in the long run π =0 What should the firm charge per dollar of coverage? E(π) = aq pq t =

21 E(u) = (1-p)U[Y pqk] + pu[y-l+q-pqk] de(u)/dq = (1-p) U' (y-pqk)(-pk) + pu'(y-l+q-pqk)(1-pk) = 0 p(1-pk)u'(y-l+q-pqk) = (1-p)pkU'(Y-pqk) p cancel on each side (1-pk)U'(Y-L+q-pkq) = (1-p)kU' (Y-pkq) (a)(b) = (c)(d) Since k > 1, can show that (1-pk) < (1-p)k Since (a) < (c), must be the case that (b) > (d) U'(Y-L+q-pkq) > U'(Y-pkq) Since U'(y1) > U'(y2), must be that y1 < y Demand for Insurance (Y-L+q-pqk) < (Y-pqk) Y and pqk cancel -L + q < 0 Which means that q < L When price is not fair you will not fully insure Both people have income of Y Each person has a potential health shock The shock will leave person 1 w/ expenses of E1 and will leave income at Y1=Y-E1 The shock will leave person 2 w/ expenses of E2 and will leave income at Y2=Y-E2 Suppose that E1>E2, Y1<Y

22 Probabilities the health shock will occur are P1 and P2 Expected of person 1 E(Y) 1 = (1-P1)Y + P1*(Y-E1) E(Y) 2 = (1-P2)Y + P2*(Y-E2) Suppose that E(Y) 1 = E(Y) 2 = Y3 In this case Shock 1 is a low probability/high cost shock Shock 2 is a high probability/low cost shock Example Y=\$60,000 Shock 1 is 1% probability of \$50,000 expense Shock 2 is a 50% chance of \$1000 expense E(Y) = \$ Utility Ub Ua b c g f d a U(Y) Expected utility locus Line ab for person 1 Line ac for person 2 Expected utility is Ua in case 1 Ub in case 2 Certainty premium Line (de) for person 1, Difference Y3 Ya Line (fg) for person 2, Difference Y3 - Yb Y1 Ya Y2 E(Y)=Y3 Y Yb

23 Implications Do not insure small risks/high probability events If you know with certainty that a costs will happen, or, costs are low when a bad event occurs, then do not insure Example: teeth cleanings. You know they happen twice a year, why pay the loading cost on an event that will happen? Insure catastrophic events Large but rare risks As we will see, many of the insurance contracts we see do not fit these characteristics they pay for small predictable expenses and leave exposed catastrophic events Some adjustments to this model The model assumes that poor health has a monetary cost and that is all. When experience a bad health shock, it costs you L to recover and you are returned to new Many situations where health shocks generate large expenses And the expenses may not return you to normal AIDS, stroke, diabetes, etc. In these cases, the health shock has fundamentally changed life. We can deal with this situation in the expected utility model with adjustment in the utility function State dependent utility U(y) utility in healthy state V(y) utility in unhealthy state

24 Utility a U(y) Typical assumption U(Y) >V(Y) For any given income level, get higher utility in the healthy state U`(Y) > V`(Y) For any given income level, marginal utility of the next dollar is higher in the healthy state c a b c b V(y) 93 Y 2 Y 1 Y 94 Note that: At Y 1, U(Y 1 ) > V(Y 1 ) U`(Y 1 ) > V`(Y 1 ) Slope of line aa > slope of line bb Notice that slope line aa = slope of line cc U`(Y 1 ) = V`(Y 2 ) What does this do to optimal insurance E(u) = (1-p)U[Y pq t] + pv[y-l+q-pq-t] Again, lets set t=0 to make things easy E(u) = (1-p)U[Y pq] + pv[y-l+q-pq] de(u)/dq = (1-p)(-p)U`[Y-pq] +p(1-p)v`[y-l+q+pq] = 0 U`[Y-pq] = V`[Y-l+q-pq]

25 Just like in previous case, we equalize marginal utility across the good and bad states of the world Recall that U`(y) > V`(y) U`(y 1 ) = V`(y 2 ) if y 1 >y 2 Since U`[Y-pq] = V`[Y-l+q-pq] In order to equalize marginal utilities of income, must be the case that [Y-pq] > [Y-l+q+pq] in healthy state > income in unhealthy state Do not fully insure losses. Why? With insurance, you take \$ from the good state of the world (where MU of income is high) and transfer \$ to the bad state of the world (where MU is low) Do not want good money to chance bad Allais Paradox Which gamble would you prefer 1A: \$1 million w/ certainty 1B: (.89, \$1 million), (0.01, \$0), (0.1, \$5 million) Which gamble would you prefer 2A: (0.89, \$0), (0.11, \$1 million) 2B: (0.9, \$0), (0.10, \$5 million) 1 st gamble: U(1) > 0.89U(1) U(0) + 0.1U(5) 0.11U(1) > 0.01U(0) + 0.1U(5) Now consider gamble 2 0.9U(0) + 0.1U(5) > 0.89U(0) U(1) 0.01U(0) + 0.1U(5) > 0.11U(1) Choice of Lottery 1A and 2B is inconsistent with expected utility theory

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