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Are Preferences Monotonic? Testing Some Predictions of Regret Theory


  • Loomes, Graham
  • Starmer, Chris
  • Sugden, Robert


In this paper, the authors demonstrate that the assumption of "regret aversion," which has been invoked in regret theory to explain several well-documented violations of expected utility theory, also implies the existence of strict preferences between some stochastically equivalent actions and implies certain systematic violations of monotonicity. The authors report an experimental test of these predictions. They find that, while choices between stochastically equivalent actions are entirely consistent with expected utility theory, there is clear evidence of the monotonicity violations predicted by regret theory. Copyright 1992 by The London School of Economics and Political Science.

Suggested Citation

  • Loomes, Graham & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1992. "Are Preferences Monotonic? Testing Some Predictions of Regret Theory," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(233), pages 17-33, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:59:y:1992:i:233:p:17-33

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francesconi, Marco & Muthoo, Abhinay, 2003. "An Economic Model of Child Custody," CEPR Discussion Papers 4054, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wong, Kit Pong, 2015. "A regret theory of capital structure," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 48-57.
    2. Wong, Kit Pong, 2011. "Regret theory and the banking firm: The optimal bank interest margin," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 2483-2487.
    3. Smith, Richard David, 1996. "Is Regret Theory an alternative basis for estimating the value of healthcare interventions?," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 105-115, August.
    4. Broll, Udo & Welzel, Peter & Wong, Kit Pong, 2017. "The firm under regret aversion," CEPIE Working Papers 03/17, Technische Universität Dresden, Center of Public and International Economics (CEPIE).
    5. Wong, Kit Pong, 2014. "Fixed versus variable rate loans under regret aversion," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 140-145.
    6. Starmer, Chris, 1999. "Experimental Economics: Hard Science or Wasteful Tinkering?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 5-15, February.
    7. Zeelenberg, M., 1999. "Anticipated regret, expected feedback and behavioral decision-making," Other publications TiSEM 38371d1b-31fd-45b0-860f-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    8. Wong, Kit Pong, 2012. "Production and insurance under regret aversion," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 1154-1160.
    9. Chris Starmer, 1996. "Explaining risky choices without assuming preferences," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 13(2), pages 201-213, April.
    10. Broll, Udo & Welzel, Peter & Wong, Kit Pong, 2014. "Multinational firm, exchange rate risk and the impact of regret on trade," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 04/14, Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
    11. Udo Broll & Peter Welzel & Kit Pong Wong, 2016. "Regret theory and the competitive firm revisited," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 6(3), pages 481-487, December.
    12. Hirigoyen, Gérard & Labaki, Rania, 2012. "The role of regret in the owner-manager decision-making in the family business: A conceptual approach," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 118-126.
    13. Wong, Kit Pong, 2014. "Regret theory and the competitive firm," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 172-175.
    14. Freemantle, Nick, 1996. "Are decisions taken by health care professionals rational? A non systematic review of experimental and quasi experimental literature," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 71-81, November.
    15. Rachel J. Huang & Alexander Muermann & Larry Y. Tzeng, 2016. "Hidden Regret In Insurance Markets," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 83(1), pages 181-216, January.
    16. Jonathan W. Leland, 1998. "Similarity Judgments in Choice Under Uncertainty: A Reinterpretation of the Predictions of Regret Theory," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(5), pages 659-672, May.
    17. Udo Broll & Peter Welzel & Kit Wong, 2015. "Exchange Rate Risk and the Impact of Regret on Trade," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 109-119, February.
    18. Han Bleichrodt & Peter P. Wakker, 2015. "Regret Theory: A Bold Alternative to the Alternatives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(583), pages 493-532, March.
    19. Michele Bernasconi, 2002. "How should income be divided? questionnaire evidence from the theory of “Impartial preferences”," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 163-195, December.
    20. Bruno S. Frey, "undated". "Knight Fever towards an Economics of Awards," IEW - Working Papers 239, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    21. Michael Braun & Alexander Muermann, 2004. "The Impact of Regret on the Demand for Insurance," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 71(4), pages 737-767.
    22. Humphrey, Steven J., 1996. "Do anchoring effects underlie event-splitting effects? An experimental test," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 303-308, June.
    23. Roth, Gerrit, 2006. "Predicting the Gap between Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay," Munich Dissertations in Economics 4901, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    24. Krähmer, Daniel & Stone, Rebecca, 2005. "Regret in Dynamic Decision Problems," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 71, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    25. Han Bleichrodt & Jose Luis Pinto-Prades, 2006. "A New Type of Preference Reversal," Working Papers 06.18, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.

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