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Randomization vs. selection: How to choose in the absence of preference?

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  • Eric Danan

    () (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - UCP - Université de Cergy Pontoise - Université Paris-Seine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

Decision makers sometimes have to choose between alternative options about which they have no preference: either they judge the options equally valuable (indifference) or they have no judgment about their relative value (noncomparability). Choosing randomly is generally considered a natural way to deal with such situations. This paper shows, however, that systematic randomization between noncomparable options may lead to a chain of decisions resulting in monetary losses (a money pump). Furthermore, these losses can be avoided by deliberately selecting one of the noncomparable options instead of randomizing. Thus, randomization among noncomparable options is costly relative to deliberate selection. On the other hand, randomization among indifferent options is costless relative to deliberate selection.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Danan, 2010. "Randomization vs. selection: How to choose in the absence of preference?," Post-Print hal-00872249, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00872249
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.1090.1116
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00872249
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nascimento, Leandro, 2012. "The ex-ante aggregation of opinions under uncertainty," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(3), September.
    2. Özgür Evren, 2012. "Scalarization Methods and Expected Multi-Utility Representations," Working Papers w0174, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    3. Chen Li & Zhihua Li & Peter Wakker, 2014. "If nudge cannot be applied: a litmus test of the readers’ stance on paternalism," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 76(3), pages 297-315, March.
    4. Miguel Costa-Gomes & Carlos Cueva & Georgios Gerasimou & Matus Tejiscak, 2014. "Choice, Deferral and Consistency," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201416, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews, revised 26 Dec 2016.
    5. Evren, Özgür, 2014. "Scalarization methods and expected multi-utility representations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 30-63.
    6. Gerasimou, Georgios, 2010. "Rational indecisive choice," MPRA Paper 25481, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Rohan Dutta & Sean Horan, 2015. "Inferring Rationales from Choice: Identification for Rational Shortlist Methods," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 179-201, November.
    8. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Cueva, Carlos & Gerasimou, Georgios, 2014. "Choice, Deferral and Consistency," SIRE Discussion Papers 2015-17, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    9. Gerasimou, Georgios, 2012. "Asymmetric Dominance, Deferral and Status Quo Bias in a Theory of Choice with Incomplete Preferences," MPRA Paper 40097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Cueva, Carlos & Gerasimou, Georgios, 2014. "Choice, Deferral and Consistency," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-17, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    11. Gerasimou, Georgios, 2015. "Indecisiveness, Undesirability and Overload Revealed Through Rational Choice Deferral," MPRA Paper 67290, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Evren, Özgür & Ok, Efe A., 2011. "On the multi-utility representation of preference relations," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 554-563.

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