Dual Utilities on Risk Aggregation under Dependence Uncertainty

Ruodu Wang, Zuo Quan Xu, Xun Yu Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Finding the worst-case value of a preference over a set of plausible models is a well-established approach to address the issue of model uncertainty or ambiguity. In this paper, we study the worst-case evaluation of Yaari dual utility functionals of an aggregate risk under dependence uncertainty along with its decision-theoretic implications. To arrive at our main findings, we introduce a technical notion of conditional joint mixability. Lower and upper bounds on dual utilities with dependence uncertainty are established, and in the presence of conditional joint mixability, they are shown to be exact bounds. Moreover, conditional joint mixability is indeed necessary for attaining these exact bounds when the distortion functions are strictly inverse-S-shaped. A particular economic implication of our results is what we call the pessimism effect. We show that a (generally non-convex/non-concave) dual utility-based decision maker under dependence uncertainty behaves as if she had a risk-averse dual utility which is more pessimistic but free of dependence uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1048
Number of pages24
JournalFinance and Stochastics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Conditional joint mixability
  • Dependence uncertainty
  • Dual utility
  • Pessimism effect
  • Risk aggregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Finance
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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