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The Utility of Gambling Reconsidered

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  • Enrico Diecidue
  • Ulrich Schmidt
  • Peter P. Wakker

    ()

Abstract

The utility of gambling, which entails an intrinsic utility or disutility of risk, has been alluded to in the economics literature for over a century. This paper demonstrates that any utility of gambling almost unavoidably implies a violation of fundamental rationality properties, such as transitivity or stochastic dominance, for static choices between gambles. This result may explain why the utility of gambling, a phenomenon so widely discussed, has never been formalized in the economics literature. The model of this paper accommodates well-known deviations from expected utility, such as the Allais paradox and the coexistence of gambling and insurance, while minimally deviating from expected utility.

Suggested Citation

  • Enrico Diecidue & Ulrich Schmidt & Peter P. Wakker, 2004. "The Utility of Gambling Reconsidered," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 241-259, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:29:y:2004:i:3:p:241-259
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