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The relevance of irrelevant alternatives


  • Kroll, Eike Benjamin
  • Vogt, Bodo


In an experimental setting, subjects face a standard elicitation task for certainty equivalents. We show that when a third, objectively irrelevant, option is added to the standard task, the willingness to take risks increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Kroll, Eike Benjamin & Vogt, Bodo, 2012. "The relevance of irrelevant alternatives," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 435-437.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:115:y:2012:i:3:p:435-437 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2011.12.124

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Seidl, Christian, 2002. " Preference Reversal," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 621-655, December.
    2. Simonson, Itamar, 1989. " Choice Based on Reasons: The Case of Attraction and Compromise Effects," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 158-174, September.
    3. Robin Cubitt, 2005. "Experiments and the domain of economic theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 197-210.
    4. Doron Sonsino, 2010. "The irrelevant-menu affect on valuation," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(3), pages 309-333, September.
    5. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-824, December.
    6. Roth, Alvin E., 1977. "Independence of irrelevant alternatives, and solutions to Nash's bargaining problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 247-251, December.
    7. Payne, John W & Bettman, James R & Schkade, David A, 1999. "Measuring Constructed Preferences: Towards a Building Code," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 243-270, December.
    8. Tversky, Amos & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Anomalies: Preference Reversals," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 201-211, Spring.
    9. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1987. "Some implications of a more general form of regret theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 270-287, April.
    10. Slovic, Paul & Lichtenstein, Sarah, 1983. "Preference Reversals: A Broader Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 596-605, September.
    11. Grether, David M & Plott, Charles R, 1979. "Economic Theory of Choice and the Preference Reversal Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 623-638, September.
    12. David J. Butler & Graham C. Loomes, 2007. "Imprecision as an Account of the Preference Reversal Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 277-297, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Crosetto, Paolo & Gaudeul, Alexia, 2016. "A monetary measure of the strength and robustness of the attraction effect," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 38-43.
    2. Marcel Lichters & Marko Sarstedt & Bodo Vogt, 2015. "On the practical relevance of the attraction effect: A cautionary note and guidelines for context effect experiments," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, June.
    3. repec:spr:amsrev:v:5:y:2015:i:1:d:10.1007_s13162-015-0066-8 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Decision under risk; Expected utility theory; Irrelevant alternative; Lottery choice;

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General


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