2015-03: Diversification Preferences in the Theory of Choice


Diversification represents the idea of choosing variety over uniformity. Within the theory of choice, desirability of diversification is axiomatized as preference for a convex combination of choices that are equivalently ranked. This corresponds to the notion of risk aversion when one assumes the von-Neumann-Morgenstern expected utility model, but the equivalence fails to hold in other models. This paper reviews axiomatizations of the concept of diversification and their relationship to the related notions of risk aversion and convex preferences within different choice theoretic models. The survey covers model-independent diversification preferences, preferences within models of choice under risk, including expected utility theory and the more general rank-dependent expected utility theory, as well as models of choice under uncertainty axiomatized via Choquet expected utility theory. Remarks on interpretations of diversification preferences within models of behavioral choice are given in the conclusion.

Enrico G. De Giorgi
Publication date: 
July 8, 2015
Publication type: 
2015 Working Papers