Ellsberg meets Keynes at an urn

Soo Hong Chew, Bin Miao, Songfa Zhong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Keynes (1921) and Ellsberg (1961) have articulated an aversion toward betting on an urn containing balls of two colors of unknown proportion to one with a 50–50 composition. Keynes views this as reflecting different preferences for bets arising from different sources of uncertainty. Ellsberg describes this as weighting the priors arising from the unknown urn pessimistically. In two experiments, we observe substantial links between attitude toward almost-objective uncertainty and attitudes toward multiple-prior uncertainties in terms of ambiguity and its corresponding compound risk. Our findings point to a shared component across domains of uncertainty and motivate the need for further theoretical development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1162
Number of pages30
JournalQuantitative Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Ambiguity
  • C91
  • D81
  • experiment
  • maxmin expected utility
  • recursive utility
  • source preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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