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The Monty Hall Dilemma Revisited: Understanding the Interaction of Problem Definition and Decision Making


  • Peter R. Mueser

    (University of Missouri-Columbia)

  • Donald Granberg

    (University of Missouri-Columbia)


We examine a logical decision problem, the "Monty Hall Dilemma," in which a large portion of sophisticated subjects insist on an apparently wrong solution. Although a substantial literature examines the structure of this problem, we argue that the extant analyses have not recognized the constellation of cues that guide respondents' answers. We show that insight into subjects' decisions may be obtained by considering problems with similar surface structure to the Monty Hall Dilemma but which are common in environments that they routinely face. In particular, we consider the problem modeled as a game in which actors have possibly opposing interests, and as an environment with information provided by an objective source. We present experimental evidence showing that these comparisons help to explain subject responses.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter R. Mueser & Donald Granberg, 1999. "The Monty Hall Dilemma Revisited: Understanding the Interaction of Problem Definition and Decision Making," Experimental 9906001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:9906001
    Note: 59 pages (all pages numbered, including title page, abstract, two appendices, reference list, 8 text tables, and 2 appendix tables), WordPerfect version 6-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. LeRoy, Stephen F & Singell, Larry D, Jr, 1987. "Knight on Risk and Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 394-406, April.
    2. Nalebuff, Barry, 1987. "Choose a Curtain, Duel-ity, Two Point Conversions, and More," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 157-163, Fall.
    3. Friedman, Daniel, 1998. "Monty Hall's Three Doors: Construction and Deconstruction of a Choice Anomaly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 933-946, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jgames:v:8:y:2017:i:3:p:31-:d:105869 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jan C. Schuller, 2012. "The malicious host: a minimax solution of the Monty Hall problem," Journal of Applied Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 215-221, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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    1. Talk:Monty Hall problem/draft2 in Wikipedia English ne '')
    2. Talk:Monty Hall problem/Archive 32 in Wikipedia English ne '')
    3. Монтихолов парадокс in Wikipedia Serbian ne '')
    4. Talk:Monty Hall problem/draft1 in Wikipedia English ne '')
    5. Парадокс Монти Холла in Wikipedia Russian ne '')
    6. Talk:Monty Hall problem/Archive 28 in Wikipedia English ne '')
    7. Monty Hallin ongelma in Wikipedia Finnish ne '')
    8. User:SPACKlick/Monty Hall Problem(draft) in Wikipedia English ne '')
    9. Monty Hall problem in Wikipedia English ne '')


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