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Bang for the buck: gain-loss ratio as a driver of judgment and choice

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Management Science
Issue number5
Number of pages27
Pages (from-to)1137-1163
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date3/12/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Prominent decision-making theories propose that individuals (should) evaluate alternatives by combining gains and losses in an additive way. Instead, we suggest that individuals seek to maximize the rate of exchange between positive and negative outcomes and thus combine gains and losses in a multiplicative way. Sensitivity to gain-loss ratio provides an alternative account for several existing findings and implies a number of novel predictions. It implies greater sensitivity to losses and risk aversion when expected value is positive, but greater sensitivity to gains and risk seeking when expected value is negative. It also implies more extreme preferences when expected value is positive than when expected value is negative. These predictions are independent of decreasing marginal sensitivity, loss aversion, and probability weighting—three key properties of prospect theory. Five new experiments and reanalyses of two recently published studies support these predictions.

Bibliographic note

Date of Acceptance: 26/06/2014