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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Unified, Resource-Rational Account of the Allais and Ellsberg Paradoxes

  • Author(s): Nobandegani, Ardavan S.;
  • Shultz, Thomas;
  • Dubé, Laurette
  • et al.

Decades of empirical and theoretical research on human decision-making has broadly categorized it into two, separate realms: decision-making under risk and decision-making under uncertainty, with the Allais paradox and the Ellsberg paradox being a prominent example of each, respectively. In this work, we present the first unified, resource-rational account of these two paradoxes. Specifically, we show that Nobandegani et al.’s (2018) sample-based expected utility model provides a unified, process-level account of the two variants of the Allais paradox (the common-consequence effect and the common-ratio effect) and the Ellsberg paradox. Our work suggests that the broad framework of resource-rationality could permit a unified treatment of decision-making under risk and decision-making under uncertainty, thus approaching a unified account of human decision-making.

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