Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 191–213 | Cite as

Testing the ‘standard’ model of stochastic choice under risk

  • David Butler
  • Andrea IsoniEmail author
  • Graham Loomes


Models of stochastic choice are intended to capture the substantial amount of noise observed in decisions under risk. We present an experimental test of one model, which many regard as the default—the Basic Fechner model. We consider one of the model’s key assumptions—that the noise around the subjective value of a risky option is independent of other features of the decision problem. We find that this assumption is systematically violated. However the main patterns in our data can be accommodated by a more recent variant of the Fechner model, or within the random preference framework.


Choice under risk Stochastic choice Fechner model Random preference 

JEL classification

D81 C91 



Andrea Isoni and Graham Loomes acknowledge the financial support of the UK Economic and Social Research Council (grant no. RES-051-27-0248) and David Butler acknowledges the support of the Australian Research Council (grant: DP1095681) in this collaboration. We thank the Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science at the University of East Anglia for the resources and facilities used to carry out the experimental work reported here. Finally, we have benefitted from helpful comments and suggestions by an anonymous referee. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Murdoch Business SchoolPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Behavioural Science GroupWarwick Business SchoolCoventryUK
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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