Paradox-Proof Utility Functions for Heavy-Tailed Payoffs: Two Instructive Two-Envelope Problems
Michael Powers ()
Risks, 2015, vol. 3, issue 1, 1-9
We identify restrictions on a decision maker’s utility function that are both necessary and sufficient to preserve dominance reasoning in each of two versions of the Two-Envelope Paradox (TEP). For the classical TEP, the utility function must satisfy a certain recurrence inequality. For the St. Petersburg TEP, the utility function must be bounded above asymptotically by a power function, which can be tightened to a constant. By determining the weakest conditions for dominance reasoning to hold, the article settles an open question in the research literature. Remarkably, neither constant-bounded utility nor finite expected utility is necessary for resolving the classical TEP; instead, finite expected utility is both necessary and sufficient for resolving the St. Petersburg TEP.
Keywords: two-envelope paradox; dominance reasoning; von Neumann–Morgenstern utility; heavy-tailed payoffs; boundedness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C G0 G1 G2 G3 M2 M4 K2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:gam:jrisks:v:3:y:2015:i:1:p:26-34:d:44877
Access Statistics for this article
Risks is currently edited by Prof. Dr. J. David Cummins
More articles in Risks from MDPI, Open Access Journal
Bibliographic data for series maintained by XML Conversion Team ().