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Testing Explanations of Preference Reversal

Robin P. Cubitt, Alistair Munro and Chris Starmer
The Economic Journal
Vol. 114, No. 497 (Jul., 2004), pp. 709-726
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Royal Economic Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3590302
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Testing Explanations of Preference Reversal
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Abstract

We present a new experimental investigation of preference reversal. Although economists and psychologists have suggested a variety of accounts for this phenomenon, the existing data do not adequately discriminate between them. Relative to previous studies, our design offers enhanced control for economic explanations and new tests of psychological hypotheses. We find a pattern of preference reversals that is inconsistent with all of the best-known explanations of the phenomenon proposed by economists, with the fundamental economic assumption of context-free preferences, and with several psychological theories of preference reversal. We explore the explanatory strategies that survive exposure to our data.

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