Explaining the harmonic sequence paradox
AbstractAccording to the harmonic sequence paradox (Blavatskyy 2006), an expected utility decision maker's willingness-to-pay for a gamble whose expected payoffs evolve according to the harmonic series is finite if and only if his marginal utility of additional income becomes zero for rather low payoff levels. Since the assumption of zero marginal utility is implausible for finite payoffs levels, expected utility theory—as well as its standard generalizations such as cumulative prospect theory—are apparently unable to explain a finite willingness-to-pay. The present paper presents first an experimental study of the harmonic sequence paradox. Additionally, it demonstrates that the theoretical argument of the harmonic sequence paradox only applies to time-patient decision makers whereas the paradox is easily avoided if time-impatience is introduced
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1724.
Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
St. Petersburg Paradox; Expected Utility; Time-Preferences;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-08-09 (All new papers)
- NEP-EVO-2011-08-09 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2011-08-09 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2011-08-09 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-UPT-2011-08-09 (Utility Models & Prospect Theory)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Pavlo Blavatskyy, 2006. "Harmonic sequence paradox," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 221-226, 05.
- Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
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