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Cumulative prospect theory and the St. Petersburg paradox


Rieger, M; Wang, M (2006). Cumulative prospect theory and the St. Petersburg paradox. Economic Theory, 28(3):665-679.

Abstract

We find that in cumulative prospect theory (CPT) with a concave value function in gains, a lottery with finite expected value may have infinite subjective value. This problem does not occur in expected utility theory. The paradox occurs in particular in the setting and the parameter regime studied by Tversky and Kahneman [15] and in subsequent works. We characterize situations in CPT where the problem can be resolved. In particular, we define a class of admissible probability distributions and admissible parameter regimes for the weighting- and value functions for which finiteness of the subjective value can be proved. Alternatively, we suggest a new weighting function for CPT which guarantees finite subjective value for all lotteries with finite expected value, independent of the choice of the value function. Some of these results have already been found independently by Blavatskyy [4] in the context of discrete lotteries.

We find that in cumulative prospect theory (CPT) with a concave value function in gains, a lottery with finite expected value may have infinite subjective value. This problem does not occur in expected utility theory. The paradox occurs in particular in the setting and the parameter regime studied by Tversky and Kahneman [15] and in subsequent works. We characterize situations in CPT where the problem can be resolved. In particular, we define a class of admissible probability distributions and admissible parameter regimes for the weighting- and value functions for which finiteness of the subjective value can be proved. Alternatively, we suggest a new weighting function for CPT which guarantees finite subjective value for all lotteries with finite expected value, independent of the choice of the value function. Some of these results have already been found independently by Blavatskyy [4] in the context of discrete lotteries.

Citations

37 citations in Web of Science®
43 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Mathematics
Dewey Decimal Classification:510 Mathematics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cumulative prospect theory - Probability weighting function - St. Petersburg paradox
Language:English
Date:2006
Deposited On:22 Jan 2010 12:52
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:24
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0938-2259
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00199-005-0641-6

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