, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 253-277

Perspectives on a Pair of Envelopes

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Abstract

The two envelopes problem has generated a significant number of publications (I have benefitted from reading many of them, only some of which I cite; see the epilogue for a historical note). Part of my purpose here is to provide a review of previous results (with somewhat simpler demonstrations). In addition, I hope to clear up what I see as some misconceptions concerning the problem. Within a countably additive probability framework, the problem illustrates a breakdown of dominance with respect to infinite partitions in circumstances of infinite expected utility. Within a probability framework that is only finitely additive, there are failures of dominance with respect to infinite partitions in circumstances of bounded utility with finitely many consequences (see the epilogue).