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A Simple Tool for Qualitatively Testing, Quantitatively Measuring, and Normatively Justifying Savage's Subjective Expected Utility


  • Veronika K–bberling
  • Peter P. Wakker



This paper introduces a new preference condition that can be used to justify (or criticize) expected utility. The approach taken in this paper is an alternative to Savage's, and is accessible to readers without a mathematical background. It is based on a method for deriving "comparisons of tradeoffs" from ordinal preferences. Our condition simplifies previously-published tradeoff conditions, and at the same time provides more general and more powerful tools to specialists. The condition is more closely related to empirical methods for measuring utility than its predecessors. It provides a unifying tool for qualitatively testing, quantitatively measuring, and normatively justifying expected utility.

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  • Veronika K–bberling & Peter P. Wakker, 2004. "A Simple Tool for Qualitatively Testing, Quantitatively Measuring, and Normatively Justifying Savage's Subjective Expected Utility," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 135-145, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:28:y:2004:i:2:p:135-145

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ian Jewitt, 1989. "Choosing Between Risky Prospects: The Characterization of Comparative Statics Results, and Location Independent Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(1), pages 60-70, January.
    2. Michael Landsberger & Isaac Meilijson, 1994. "The Generating Process and an Extension of Jewitt's Location Independent Risk Concept," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(5), pages 662-669, May.
    3. Diamond, Peter A. & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1974. "Increases in risk and in risk aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 337-360, July.
    4. Muller, Alfred, 1998. "Comparing risks with unbounded distributions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 229-239, September.
    5. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
    6. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1971. "Increasing risk II: Its economic consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 66-84, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Brooks & Horst Zank, 2005. "Loss Averse Behavior," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 301-325, December.
    2. repec:eee:jetheo:v:172:y:2017:i:c:p:88-119 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Katarzyna Werner & Horst Zank, 2012. "Foundations for Prospect Theory Through Probability Midpoint Consistency," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1210, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    4. David H. Krantz & Howard C. Kunreuther, 2007. "Goals and plans in decision making," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 2, pages 137-168, June.
    5. Alexander Harin, 2005. "A new approach to solve old problems," Game Theory and Information 0505005, EconWPA.

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