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The Relevance of Irrelevant Alternatives: An experimental investigation of risky choices

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  • Eike B. Kroll

    () (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

  • Bodo Vogt

    () (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

Abstract

Experimental economists have discovered various violations of expected utility theory and offered alternative models that can explain laboratory results. This study discovers a new violation in risky choices that cannot be explained by theories like Prospect Theory, Disappoint- ment or Regret Theory. In an experimental setting using a between- subject design, the influence of a dominated alternative on certainty equivalents is shown. One group of subjects was offered a series of choices between a lottery ticket with a 50-50 chance of winning and a sure payoff. A second group was offered the same choice plus a third alternative, that as it turned out was not chosen by any participant. As a result, the average chosen sure payoff in the second group was higher than in the first group. That means, by adding a dominated alternative to a choice set, the certainty equivalent of a lottery is in- creased.

Suggested Citation

  • Eike B. Kroll & Bodo Vogt, 2008. "The Relevance of Irrelevant Alternatives: An experimental investigation of risky choices," FEMM Working Papers 08028, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:08028
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    File URL: http://www.ww.uni-magdeburg.de/fwwdeka/femm/a2008_Dateien/2008_28.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Demuynck, Thomas, 2011. "The computational complexity of rationalizing boundedly rational choice behavior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 425-433.

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