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Deal or No Deal? Decision-making under Risk in a Large-payoff Game Show

Thierry Post (), Guido Baltussen () and Martijn van den Assem
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Martijn van den Assem: Faculty of Economics, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam

No 06-009/2, Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers from Tinbergen Institute

Abstract: We examine the risky choices of contestants in the popular TV game show “Deal or No Deal” and related classroom experiments. Contrary to the traditional view of expected utility theory, the choices can be explained in large part by previous outcomes experienced during the game. Risk aversion decreases after earlier expectations have been shattered by unfavorable outcomes or surpassed by favorable outcomes. Our results point to reference-dependent choice theories such as prospect theory, and suggest that path-dependence is relevant, even when the choice problems are simple and well defined, and when large real monetary amounts are at stake.

This discussion paper has resulted in a publication in the American Economic Review , 2008, 9(1), 38-71.

Keywords: Decision making under risk; Relative risk aversion; break-even effect; real incentives; game show (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C23 C93 D81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006-01-11, Revised 2006-02-02
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4)

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