Journal Article

Testing Transitivity in Choice under Risk


  • Birnbaum
  • M.
  • Schmidt
  • U.
Publication Date

Recently proposed models of risky choice imply systematic violations of transitivity of preference. This study explored whether people show the predicted intransitivity of the two models proposed to account for the certainty effect in Allais paradoxes. In order to distinguish “true” violations from those produced by “error,” a model was fit in which each choice can have a different error rate and each person can have a different pattern of preferences that need not be transitive. Error rate for a choice is estimated from preference reversals between repeated presentations of the same choice. Results showed that few people repeated intransitive patterns. We can retain the hypothesis that all participants were transitive.

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Key Words

  • errors
  • gambling effect
  • reference points
  • transitivity