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Transitive regret


  • Bikhchandani, Sushil

    () (School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Segal, Uzi

    () (Department of Economics, Boston College)


Preferences may arise from regret, i.e., from comparisons with alternatives forgone by the decision maker. We ask whether regret-based behavior is consistent with non-expected utility theories of transitive choice and show that the answer is no. If choices are governed by ex ante regret and rejoicing then non-expected utility preferences must be intransitive.

Suggested Citation

  • Bikhchandani, Sushil & Segal, Uzi, 2011. "Transitive regret," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(1), January.
  • Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:738

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status in Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188.
    3. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Fishburn, Peter C & LaValle, Irving H, 1988. "Context-Dependent Choice with Nonlinear and Nontransitive Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1221-1239, September.
    6. Sugden Robert, 1993. "An Axiomatic Foundation for Regret Theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 159-180, June.
    7. Hayashi, Takashi, 2008. "Regret aversion and opportunity dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 242-268, March.
    8. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini, 2012. "Social Decision Theory: Choosing within and between Groups," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1591-1636.
    9. Todd Sarver, 2008. "Anticipating Regret: Why Fewer Options May Be Better," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 263-305, March.
    10. Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1996. "Veblen Effects in a Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 349-373, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fujii, Yoichiro & Okura, Mahito & Osaki, Yusuke, 2016. "Regret, rejoicing, and mixed insurance," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 126-132.
    2. Karni, Edi & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2015. "Ambiguity and Nonexpected Utility," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Elsevier.
    3. repec:eee:jetheo:v:172:y:2017:i:c:p:88-119 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Regret; transitivity; non-expected utility;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty


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