Deciding about human lives: an experimental measure of risk attitudes under prospect theory


Social Choice and Welfare


Departments: Economics & Decision Sciences, GREGHEC (CNRS)

For public policies in the health, security or safety domains, the main consequences concern the number of human lives that are saved or lost, and are uncertain ex-ante. In classic economic evaluations of such policies, losses and gains of human lives are often monetized and aggregated with other costs and benefits. Uncertainty about human lives is thus treated as uncertainty about monetary consequences. In this paper, we question whether people risk human lives as they risk money.We present an experiment comparing risk attitudes towards human lives and towards money under prospect theory. The results show that respondents treat the two attributes differently when losses are involved. Specifically, the decisions involving human lives are characterizedby less elevated probability weighting in the loss domain and higher loss aversion compared to decisions involving money. These findings suggest that public preferences may differ from the cost-benefit analysis recommendations

Decision Theory Made Relevant: Between the Software and the Shrink


Research in Economics


Departments: Economics & Decision Sciences, GREGHEC (CNRS), Strategy & Business Policy

Decision theory offers a formal approach to decision making, which is often viewed and taught as the rational way to approach managerial decisions. Half a century ago it generated high hopes of capturing and perhaps replacing intuition, and providing the “right” answer in practically all managerial situations. Today it seems fair to say that decision theory has not lived up to these expectations. Behavioral science provides ample evidence that managers fail to follow the dicta of decision theory, even when these are explained to them. As a result, executives often find decision theory frustrating and useless and prefer to rely on their intuition. This paper suggests that this extreme conclusion is unwarranted and calls for a re-appraisal of decision theory. We propose that it should not always be regarded as a mathematical tool that produces the answer; rather, it can be viewed as a framework for a dialog between the decision maker and the decision theorist. In one extreme, the decision theorist studies the problem and provides the “correct’’ answer. But in another, the decision theorist only challenges the decision maker’s intuition and logic. In between, a whole gamut of possible dialogs exists, in which decision theory doesn’t replace intuition, but supports and refines it

Demand-Side Strategy, Relational Advantage, and Partner-Driven Corporate Scope: The Case for Client-Led Diversification


Strategic Management Journal


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

We advance research on corporate diversification by joining insights from the demand-side and relational views in strategy to offer a novel theory of client-led diversification. We propose that client-led diversification results from a combination of the customer-driven opportunities emphasized in the demand-side view and the creation of added value through relational assets that is a central tenet of the relational view. Furthermore, we hypothesize that suppliers’ client-specific knowledge, clients’ relational commitment to suppliers, and growth opportunities in clients’ markets (relative to the suppliers’ own markets) will magnify the client-led diversification effect. We test our hypotheses using a longitudinal dataset on patent law firms and their diversification into new domains of patent prosecution work for their corporate clients

Do stakeholder orientation and environmental pro-activity impact firm profitability?


Journal of Business Ethics


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Environmental proactivity, Firm profitability, Resource-based theory, Stakeholder orientation, Stakeholder theory

The impact of socially responsible corporate behavior on economic performance is a major preoccupation of managers today. This article explores the links between narrowly defined constructs: stakeholder orientation, environmental proactivity and profitability, from the perspectives of stakeholder theory and resource-based theory. We collected data on the food and beverage, and household and personal products industries. Using structural equation modeling, this paper makes two contributions. We found a negative link between companies simply having a higher stakeholder orientation and profitability. Importantly, however, environmental proactivity not only had a positive impact on profitability, but also appeared to mediate the relationship between stakeholder orientation and profitability. In other words, if a company is more environmentally proactive, it will be more attentive to a broad array of stakeholders, and this will in turn contribute positively to profitability

Economics: Between prediction and criticism


International Economic Review


Departments: Economics & Decision Sciences, GREGHEC (CNRS)

We suggest that one way in which economic analysis is useful is by offering a critique of reasoning. According to this view, economic theory may be useful not only by providing predictions, but also by pointing out weaknesses of arguments. It is argued that, when a theory requires a non‐trivial act of interpretation, its roles in producing predictions and offering critiques vary in a substantial way. We offer a formal model in which these different roles can be captured