IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

"Lottery Equivalents": Reduction of the Certainty Effect Problem in Utility Assessment

Listed author(s):
  • Mark McCord

    (Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210)

  • Richard de Neufville

    (Technology and Policy Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139)

Registered author(s):

    This note describes a simple procedure for assessing utility functions which avoids many difficulties of the standard techniques. The conventional methods suffer from at least three drawbacks; they (1) generate utility functions that depend on the probability levels used; (2) chain responses from one question to the next, so that any bias is propagated and even magnified; and (3) change ranges and reference points constantly, introducing range effects and other distortions. Noting the evidence linking the dependence of utility functions on the "certainty effect," our method: (1) compares lotteries with other lotteries rather than certain amounts; (2) does not "chain" responses; and (3) consistently uses "elementary lotteries" which control for range and reference points. Experimental work supports the proposed procedure.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 32 (1986)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 56-60

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:32:y:1986:i:1:p:56-60
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA

    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:32:y:1986:i:1:p:56-60. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.