, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 233-266

Min- and Max-induced rankings: an experimental study

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Abstract

The current paper is the first to report an experimental study of “Min- and Max-induced rankings” (MMIR), i.e., a family of set rankings that require preferences over sets to be induced from comparison of the best and/or worst elements within those sets. These MMIR do not perform well in predicting preferences over simple sets of monetary outcomes. In this paper, we investigate the axiomatic underpinnings of these models by means of pairwise choice experiments. From this investigation, some important conclusions can be drawn: Axioms that prevent rankings to be based on total-goodness, as well as monotonicity conditions (ensuring that replacing a set element with a better one results in a better set) cannot be refuted. Axioms that rule out any utilization of the relative difference in the values of the outcomes and axioms that prevent rankings to be based on average-goodness are all systematically violated. The Uniform Expected Utility (UEU) criterion seems to meet the apparent shortcomings of the MMIR. Some frequently occurring preference patterns, however, suggest that a significant portion of the participants uses neither a Min- or Max-induced ranking, nor UEU, but some other unspecified decision rule, possibly characterized by the tendency to prefer a diversification of uncertainty.