Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

A quantitative and qualitative test of the Allais paradox using health outcomes

Oliver, Adam (2003) A quantitative and qualitative test of the Allais paradox using health outcomes. Journal of Economic Psychology, 24 (1). pp. 35-48. ISSN 0167-4870

Download (222kB) | Preview
Identification Number: 10.1016/S0167-4870(02)00153-8


There have been many tests of the descriptive validity of the axioms of expected utility theory (EU) using money outcomes. Such tests are relatively uncommon with respect to health outcomes. This is unfortunate, because the standard gamble - considered by many health economists to be the gold standard for cardinal health state value assessment - is implied from the axioms of EU. In this paper, the classic Allais paradox, which predicts a systematic violation of the independence axiom, is tested in the context of health outcomes. Seventeen of 38 participants demonstrated strict violations of independence, with 14 of these violating in the direction predicted by Allais. The violations were thus significant and systematic. Moreover, the participants’ qualitative explanations for their behaviour show seemingly rational and not inconsistent reasoning for the violations. This evidence offers a further challenge to the descriptive validity of EU, and underlines the need to test alternative theories of risk and uncertainty in the context of health outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: Published 2003 © Elsevier. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright © and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL ( of the LSE Research Online website.
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:06

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics