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Tests of "Fanning Out" of Indifference Curves: Results from Animal and Human Experiments

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  • Kagel, John H
  • MacDonald, Don N
  • Battalio, Raymond C

Abstract

In an earlier paper (Raymond C. Battalio, John H. Kagel, and Don N. Mac Donald, 1985), we reported Allais-type violations of the independence axiom of expected utility theory with rats choosing over positively valued payoffs (food rewards). This note extends this research, examining animals' choices over losses, testing for (1) standard Allais-type common ratio effect violations of expected utility theory and (2) fanning out of indifference curves for random prospects, tests of Mark J. Machina's (1982, 1987) hypothesis II (hereafter H2), over previously unexplored areas of the unit probability triangle. Results from a parallel series of experiments using human subjects choosing over real losses are also reported. For both rats and people, we find standard Allais-type violations of expected utility theory and a systematic failure of the fanning out hypothesis in the southeast corner of the unit probability triangle, in the case of losses. Thus, the fanning out hypothesis (Machina 1982, 1987) cannot provide a satisfactory explanation for behavioral deviations from expected utility theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 80 (1990)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 912-21

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:80:y:1990:i:4:p:912-21

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Cited by:
  1. Bruno S. Frey, 2005. "Knight Fever – Towards an Economics of Awards," CESifo Working Paper Series 1468, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. William T. Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Lise Vesterlund, 1999. "Risk attitudes of children and adults: choices over small and large probability gains and losses," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 1999-2, University of Oregon Economics Department.
  3. Pavlo Blavatskyy, 2004. "Axiomatization of a Preference for Most Probably Winner," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp226, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  4. E. Elisabet Rutstrom & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau, 2004. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 201, Econometric Society.
  5. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. D. A. Peel & Jie Zhang & D. Law, 2008. "The Markowitz model of utility supplemented with a small degree of probability distortion as an explanation of outcomes of Allais experiments over large and small payoffs and gambling on unlikely outc," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 17-26.
  7. M. Keith Chen & Venkat Lakshminarayanan & Laurie Santos, 2005. "The Evolution of Our Preferences: Evidence from Capuchin-Monkey Trading Behavior," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1524, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Fan, Chinn-Ping, 2002. "Allais paradox in the small," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 411-421, November.
  9. Thomas Epper & Helga Fehr-Duda, 2012. "The missing link: Unifying risk taking and time discounting," ECON - Working Papers 096, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  10. Starmer, Chris, 1992. "Testing New Theories of Choice under Uncertainty Using the Common Consequence Effect," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 813-30, October.

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