Theory and Decision

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 249-262

First online:

A Process Approach to the Utility for Gambling

  • Marc Le MenestrelAffiliated withDepartament d'Economia i Empresa, Ramon Trias Vargas, Marc le Menestrel, Universitat Pompeu Fabra Email author 

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This paper argues that any specific utility or disutility for gambling must be excluded from expected utility because such a theory is consequential while a pleasure or displeasure for gambling is a matter of process, not of consequences. A (dis)utility for gambling is modeled as a process utility which monotonically combines with expected utility restricted to consequences. This allows for a process (dis)utility for gambling to be revealed. As an illustration, the model shows how empirical observations in the Allais paradox can reveal a process disutility of gambling. A more general model of rational behavior combining processes and consequences is then proposed and discussed.

Gambling Expected utility Process utility Rationality Consequentialism