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Are preferences complete? An experimental measurement of indecisiveness under risk

  • Eric Danan

    ()

  • Anthony Ziegelmeyer

    ()

We propose an experimental design allowing a behavioral test of the axiom of completeness of individual preferences. The central feature of our design consists in enabling subjects to postpone commitment at a small cost. Our main result is that preferences are significantly incomplete. We use lotteries as choice alternatives and we find that risk aversion is globally robust to preference incompleteness.

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File URL: ftp://papers.econ.mpg.de/esi/discussionpapers/2006-01.pdf
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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group in its series Papers on Strategic Interaction with number 2006-01.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2006-01
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  1. Dekel, Eddie & Lipman, Barton L & Rustichini, Aldo, 2001. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 891-934, July.
  2. Rigotti, Luca & Shannon, Chris, 2001. "Uncertainty and Risk in Financial Markets," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6m42r5rr, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Holt, Charles A, 1986. "Preference Reversals and the Independence Axiom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 508-15, June.
  4. Dubra, Juan & Maccheroni, Fabio & Ok, Efe A., 2004. "Expected utility theory without the completeness axiom," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 118-133, March.
  5. Beattie, Jane & Loomes, Graham, 1997. "The Impact of Incentives upon Risky Choice Experiments," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 155-68, March.
  6. Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1991. "Does the Random-Lottery Incentive System Elicit True Preferences? An Experimental Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 971-78, September.
  7. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  8. Dhar, Ravi, 1997. " Consumer Preference for a No-Choice Option," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 215-31, September.
  9. Arlegi, Ricardo & Nieto, Jorge, 2001. "Incomplete preferences and the preference for flexibility," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 151-165, March.
  10. Robin Cubitt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1998. "On the Validity of the Random Lottery Incentive System," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 115-131, September.
  11. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Sen, Amartya, 1988. "Freedom of choice : Concept and content," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 269-294, March.
  13. Eliaz, Kfir & Ok, Efe A., 2006. "Indifference or indecisiveness? Choice-theoretic foundations of incomplete preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 61-86, July.
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