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Further Analysis of the Markowitz Model of Utility with a Small Degree of Probability Distortion


  • David A. Peel
  • David Law


Explanation of the Allais paradox and the preference of many for multiple prize lottery tickets provide a rationale for why a model of agent's choice under uncertainty should embody the assumption that they distort probabilities. However the degree of probability distortion required to explain gambling on long shots in Cumulative Prospect Theory appears problematic since it implies subjective expected rates of return are dramatically higher than objective returns. Here we show that a Markowitz model of expected utility, supplemented by a small degree of probability distortion, has qualitatively similar predictions as Cumulative Prospect Theory for numerous experimental outcomes as well as the indifference curves between expected return and objective probabilities for a given stake gamble. In addition we show how a small degree of probability distortion can lead to a preference for a multiple prize lottery which has a rather different prize structure and associated probabilities than the optimally chosen one prize lottery even though the utility gain is small.

Suggested Citation

  • David A. Peel & David Law, 2008. "Further Analysis of the Markowitz Model of Utility with a Small Degree of Probability Distortion," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 2(3), pages 71-83, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:buc:jgbeco:v:2:y:2008:i:3:p:71-83

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Conlisk, John, 1993. "The Utility of Gambling," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 255-275, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Alan Peel & David Law, 2016. "Loss Aversion and Ruinous Optimal Wagering in the Markowitz Model of Non-Expected Utility," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(2), pages 688-695.
    2. Peel, D.A., 2013. "Heterogeneous agents and the implications of the Markowitz model of utility for multi-prize lottery tickets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(3), pages 264-267.

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    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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