# 14-133/III (2014-10-14)

Author(s)
Masako Ikefuji, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark; Roger Laeven, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Jan Magnus, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Chris Muris, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Keywords:
Expected utility, Catastrophe, Cost-benefit analysis, Risk management, Power utility, Exponential utility, Heavy tails
JEL codes:
D61, D81, G10, G20, Q5

An expected utility based cost-benefit analysis is in general fragile to its distributional assumptions. We derive necessary and sufficient conditions on the utility function of the expected utility model to avoid this. The conditions ensure that expected (marginal) utility remains finite also under heavy-tailed distributional assumptions.
Our results are context-free and are relevant to many fields encountering catastrophic risk analysis, such as, perhaps most noticeably, insurance and risk management.