Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 251–261 | Cite as

The Medium Prizes Paradox: Evidence From a Simulated Casino

  • Ernan Haruvy
  • Ido Erev
  • Doron Sonsino


Mainstream explanations to gambling specify conditions under which human agents are locally risk loving. Such theories, however, fail to explain the typically observed prize distribution of a few large prizes and a large number of medium ones—hence the medium prizes paradox. In the current study we show that adaptive learning models recently proposed in the literature offer a solution. Simulations of such models predict that multiple medium prizes will slow down the decrease (over time) in agents' inclination to gamble. We run a laboratory experiment that supports this explanation and shows that the positive effect of medium prizes on the inclination to gamble increases with time.

gambling reinforcement learning 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernan Haruvy
    • 1
  • Ido Erev
    • 1
  • Doron Sonsino
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Industrial Engineering and ManagementTechnion, HaifaIsrael

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