Probabilistic States Versus Multiple Certainties: the Obstacle of Uncertainty in Contingent Reasoning
65 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017 Last revised: 28 Feb 2021
Date Written: November 2017
We propose a new hypothesis, the Power of Certainty, to help explain agents' difficulties in making choices when there are multiple possible payoff-relevant states. In the probabilistic ‘Acquiring-a-Company’ problem an agent submits a price to a firm before knowing whether the firm is of low or high value. We construct a deterministic problem with a low and high value firm, where the agent submits a price that is sent to each firm separately. Subjects are much more likely to use dominant strategies in deterministic than in probabilistic problems, even though computations for profit maximization are identical for risk-neutral agents.
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