IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Cognition in Seemingly Riskless Choices and Judgments


  • Louis Lévy-Garboua
  • Claude Montmarquette


The assumption of given and known preferences and possibilities so common in economic theory stands in contradiction with the kind of unsystematic change that charaterizes many experimental and real situations. Consequently the theory misspecifies rational choice and generates many puzzles relating to marginal analysis, sunk costs, judgments of fairness, the endowment effect, etc. We instillate rational cognition and learning in seemingly riskless choices and judgments. Preferences and possibilities are given in a stochastic sense and based on revisable expectations. The theory predicts experimental preference reversals and passes a sharp econometric test of the status quo bias drawn from a field study. En sciences économiques, l'hypothèse que les préférences et les possibilités sont connues et données est largement contredite par des changements peu systématiques observés dans plusieurs expériences et situations réelles. La conséquence est que la théorie ne semble pas spécifier correctement la rationalité des choix et pose aux économistes plusieurs paradoxes reliés à l'analyse marginale, aux coûts historiques, sur les jugements de justice, sur les effets de dotation ou de statu quo, etc. Dans cette étude, nous concidérons la rationalité cognitive et l'apprentissage dans des situations de choix et de jugements apparemment sans risque. Les préférences et les possibilités sont données dans un sens stochastique et elles sont basées sur les anticipations qui sont révisées. La théorie proposée prédit des renversements de préférence dans les expériences et passe avec succès un test économétrique sur données réelles du paradoxe du biais du statu quo.

Suggested Citation

  • Louis Lévy-Garboua & Claude Montmarquette, 1996. "Cognition in Seemingly Riskless Choices and Judgments," CIRANO Working Papers 96s-01, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:96s-01

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jack L. Knetsch & J. A. Sinden, 1984. "Willingness to Pay and Compensation Demanded: Experimental Evidence of an Unexpected Disparity in Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(3), pages 507-521.
    2. Levy-Garboua, Louis & Montmarquette, Claude, 2004. "Reported job satisfaction: what does it mean?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 135-151, April.
    3. Levy-Garboua, L. & Blondel, S., 1995. "La decision comme argumentation," Papiers du Laboratoire de Microéconomie Appliquée 1995-03, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
    4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    5. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. "Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
    6. Louis Lévy-Garboua & Claude Montmarquette, 1995. "Une étude économétrique de la demande de théâtre sur données individuelles," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, pages 109-126.
    7. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
    8. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    9. Frey, Bruno S. & Pommerehne, Werner W., 1993. "On the fairness of pricing -- An empirical survey among the general population," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 295-307, April.
    10. Arkes, Hal R. & Blumer, Catherine, 1985. "The psychology of sunk cost," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 124-140, February.
    11. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-741, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Levy-Garboua, Louis & Montmarquette, Claude, 2004. "Reported job satisfaction: what does it mean?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 135-151, April.
    2. Levy-Garboua, Louis & Loheac, Youenn & Fayolle, Bertrand, 2006. "Preference formation, school dissatisfaction and risky behavior of adolescents," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 165-183, February.
    3. Roth, Gerrit, 2006. "Predicting the Gap between Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay," Munich Dissertations in Economics 4901, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C50 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - General
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:96s-01. 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: (Webmaster). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.