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Are Preference Reversals Errors? An Experimental Investigation

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  • Ulrich Schmidt

    ()

  • John D. Hey

    ()

Abstract

This paper investigates whether some part of the preference reversal phenomenon can be attributed to errors in the responses of subjects in experiments. Such errors have been well documented in other investigations of behaviour in risky decision problems, but their relevance to the preference reversal phenomenon has not been explored. Building on earlier work, we develop an extended error model and apply it to the results of an experiment in which subjects tackle risky choice problems on five separate occasions. In this experiment subjects had to answer choice questions in three occasions and to state selling and buying prices in the remaining two occasions. Our results indicate that scale compatibility can be ruled out as a significant sole explanation of the preference reversal phenomenon. Moreover, we can show that a considerable fraction of observed preference reversals can be classified as pricing errors, whereas choice errors turn out to play a minor role.

Suggested Citation

  • Ulrich Schmidt & John D. Hey, 2004. "Are Preference Reversals Errors? An Experimental Investigation," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 207-218, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:29:y:2004:i:3:p:207-218
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    Cited by:

    1. John Hey & Andrea Morone & Ulrich Schmidt, 2009. "Noise and bias in eliciting preferences," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 213-235, December.
    2. Pavlo Blavatskyy, 2012. "Probabilistic choice and stochastic dominance," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 50(1), pages 59-83, May.
    3. Michael H. Birnbaum & Ulrich Schmidt & Miriam D. Schneider, 2017. "Testing independence conditions in the presence of errors and splitting effects," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 61-85, February.
    4. Ulrich Schmidt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2008. "Third-generation prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 203-223, June.
    5. Anna Maffioletti & Ulrich Schmidt & Carsten Schröder, 2009. "The effect of elicitation methods on ambiguity aversion: an experimental investigation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(2), pages 638-643.
    6. Booij, Adam S. & van Praag, Bernard M.S., 2009. "A simultaneous approach to the estimation of risk aversion and the subjective time discount rate," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 374-388, May.
    7. Zonna, Davide, 2016. "Sprechi di cibo e tentativi di riduzione. Un caso sperimentale
      [Avoiding food waste. A field experiment]
      ," MPRA Paper 76097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. 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.
    9. Birnbaum, Michael H. & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2010. "Allais paradoxes can be reversed by presenting choices in canonical split form," Kiel Working Papers 1615, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    10. Johannes G. Jaspersen, 2016. "Hypothetical Surveys And Experimental Studies Of Insurance Demand: A Review," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 83(1), pages 217-255, January.
    11. 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.
    12. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Ðura-Georg Granić & Johannes Kern & Alexander K. Wagner, 2016. "Preference reversals: Time and again," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 52(1), pages 65-97, February.
    13. 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.
    14. Pavlo Blavatskyy, 2014. "Stronger utility," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 76(2), pages 265-286, February.
    15. Kim Kaivanto & Eike Kroll, 2014. "Alternation bias and reduction in St. Petersburg gambles," Working Papers 65600286, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    16. Pavlo Blavatskyy, 2009. "Preference reversals and probabilistic decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 237-250, December.
    17. Aurora García-Gallego & Nikolaos Georgantzís & Daniel Navarro-Martínez & Gerardo Sabater-Grande, 2011. "The stochastic component in choice and regression to the mean," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 71(2), pages 251-267, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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