How to Solve the St Petersburg Paradox in Rank-Dependent Models?

22 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2009 Last revised: 6 Apr 2009

See all articles by Marie Pfiffelmann

Marie Pfiffelmann

EM Strasbourg.University of Strasbourg. LARGE

Date Written: March 30, 2009

Abstract

The Cumulative Prospect Theory, as it was specified by Tversky and Kahneman (1992) does not explain the St Petersburg Paradox. This study shows that the solutions proposed in the literature (Blavatskyy, 2005; Rieger and Wang, 2006) to guarantee, under rank dependent models, finite subjective utilities for any prospects with finite expected values, have to cope with many limitations. In that framework, CPT fails to accommodate both gambling and insurance behavior. We suggest replacing the weighting function generally proposed in the literature by another specification which respects the following properties: 1) In order to guarantee finite subjective values for all prospects with finite expected values, the slope at zero has to be finite. 2) To account for the fourfold pattern of risk attitudes, the probability weighting has to be strong enough to overcome the concavity of the value function.

Keywords: St Petersburg Paradox, Cumulative Prospect Theory, Gambling, Probability Weighting

JEL Classification: D81, C91

Suggested Citation

Pfiffelmann, Marie, How to Solve the St Petersburg Paradox in Rank-Dependent Models? (March 30, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1370404 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1370404

Marie Pfiffelmann (Contact Author)

EM Strasbourg.University of Strasbourg. LARGE ( email )

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