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Observing Violations of Transitivity by Experimental Methods

Graham Loomes, Chris Starmer and Robert Sugden
Econometrica
Vol. 59, No. 2 (Mar., 1991), pp. 425-439
Published by: Econometric Society
DOI: 10.2307/2938263
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2938263
Page Count: 15
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Observing Violations of Transitivity by Experimental Methods
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Abstract

The preference reversal phenomenon is usually interpreted as evidence of nontransitivity of preference, but has also been explained as the result of: the difference between individuals' responses to choice and valuation problems; the devices used by experimenters to elicit valuations; and the "random lottery selection" incentive system. This paper reports an experiment designed so that none of these factors could generate systematic nontransitivities; yet systematic violations of transitivity were still found. The pattern of violation was analogous with that found in previous preference reversal experiments and is consistent with regret theory.

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