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Preference Reversal: Information-Processing Effect or Rational Non-transitive Choice?

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

Abstract

Preference reversal is often explained as an information-processing effect, whereby individuals respond differently to valuation problems than to straight choices. Regret theory offers the alternative explanation that individuals act on consistent, but nontransitive, preferences. Regret theory, in its most general form, is shown to make specific predictions about nontransitive pairwise choices that correspond with the preferences reversal phenomenon. Some experiments designed to discriminate between these two explanations are reported. The main finding is that, as regret theory predicts, the preference reversal phenomenon can be reproduced in situations in which subjects confront only choice problems. Copyright 1989 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Loomes, Graham & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1989. "Preference Reversal: Information-Processing Effect or Rational Non-transitive Choice?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 140-151, Supplemen.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:99:y:1989:i:395:p:140-51
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Birnbaum, Michael H. & Gutierrez, Roman J., 2007. "Testing for intransitivity of preferences predicted by a lexicographic semi-order," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 96-112, September.
    2. S. Abu Turab Rizvi, 2001. "Preference Formation and the Axioms of Choice," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 141-159.
    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. Birnbaum, Michael H. & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2006. "Empirical Tests of Intransitivity Predicted by Models of Risky Choice," Economics Working Papers 2006-10, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    5. Berg, Nathan & Biele, Guido & Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2010. "Does consistency predict accuracy of beliefs?: Economists surveyed about PSA," MPRA Paper 26590, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Starmer, Chris, 1999. "Experimental Economics: Hard Science or Wasteful Tinkering?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 5-15, February.
    7. Humphrey, Steven J., 2004. "Feedback-conditional regret theory and testing regret-aversion in risky choice," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 839-857, December.
    8. 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.
    9. Pechtl, Hans, 2011. "Die Präferenzwirkung nicht-verfügbarer Alternativen: Der Phantomeffekt," Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Diskussionspapiere 01/2011, University of Greifswald, Faculty of Law and Economics.
    10. Wei Lim & Joo Lee-Partridge & Soo Tan, 2008. "Revenue implication of auction value in k-price sealed-bid auctions: An experimental study," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 25-38, March.
    11. Ulrich Schmidt & Michael Stolpe, 2011. "Transitivity in health utility measurement: An experimental analysis," Health Economics Review, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-4, December.
    12. Min Ding & Jehoshua Eliashberg & Joel Huber & Ritesh Saini, 2005. "Emotional Bidders---An Analytical and Experimental Examination of Consumers' Behavior in a Priceline-Like Reverse Auction," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(3), pages 352-364, March.
    13. Elodie Brahic & Valérie Clément & Nathalie Moureau & Marion Vidal, 2008. "A la recherche des Merit Goods," Working Papers 08-08, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2008.
    14. Ulrich Schmidt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2008. "Third-generation prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 203-223, June.
    15. Raphaël Giraud, 2005. "Anomalies de la théorie des préférences. Une interprétation et une proposition de formalisation," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 56(4), pages 829-854.
    16. 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.
    17. Kobi Kriesler & Shmuel Nitzan, 2009. "Framing-based Choice: A Model of Decision-making Under Risk," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 25, pages 65-89.
    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. Attema, Arthur E. & Brouwer, Werner B.F., 2013. "In search of a preferred preference elicitation method: A test of the internal consistency of choice and matching tasks," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 126-140.
    20. Belianin Alexis, 1998. "Risk Attitudes and Choice under Uncertainty: Experimental Evidence from Russia," EERC Working Paper Series 98-01e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
    21. Berg, Joyce E. & Dickhaut, John W. & Rietz, Thomas A., 2010. "Preference reversals: The impact of truth-revealing monetary incentives," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 443-468, March.
    22. repec:kap:theord:v:84:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11238-017-9629-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Michael Birnbaum & Ulrich Schmidt, 2008. "An experimental investigation of violations of transitivity in choice under uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 77-91, August.

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