Precise or Imprecise Probabilities? Evidence from Survey Response on Late-onset Dementia

TitlePrecise or Imprecise Probabilities? Evidence from Survey Response on Late-onset Dementia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsGiustinelli, P, Manski, CF, Molinari, F
JournalNational Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series
VolumeNo. 26125
Date Published2019
KeywordsDementia, Probabilities

We elicit numerical expectations for late-onset dementia in the Health and Retirement Study. Our elicitation distinguishes between precise and imprecise probabilities, while accounting for rounding of reports. Respondents quantify imprecision using probability intervals. Nearly half of respondents hold imprecise dementia probabilities, while almost a third of precise-probability respondents round their reports. We provide the first empirical evidence on dementia-risk perceptions among dementia-free older Americans and novel evidence about imprecise probabilities in a nationally-representative sample. We show, in a specific framework, that failing to account for imprecise or rounded probabilities can yield incorrect predictions of long-term care insurance purchase decisions.


Author contact info:Pamela GiustinelliDepartment of EconomicsBocconi UniversityMilan, ItalyE-Mail: pamela.giustinelli@gmail.comCharles F. ManskiDepartment of EconomicsNorthwestern University2211 Campus DriveEvanston, IL 60208-2600Tel: 847/491-8223Fax: 847/491-7001E-Mail: cfmanski@northwestern.eduFrancesca MolinariDepartment of EconomicsCornell UniversityIthaca, NYE-Mail:

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