Predictably Intransitive Preferences

Ganna Pogrebna, David Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


The transitivity axiom is common to nearly all descriptive and normative utility theories of choice under risk. Contrary to both intuition and common assumption, the little-known ’Steinhaus-Trybula paradox’ shows the relation ’stochastically greater than’ will not always be transitive, in contradiction of Weak Stochastic Transitivity. We bespoke-design pairs of lotteries inspired by the paradox, over which individual preferences might cycle. We run an experiment to look for evidence of cycles, and violations of expansion/contraction consistency between choice sets. Even after considering possible stochastic but transitive explanations, we show that cycles can be the modal preference pattern over these simple lotteries, and we find
systematic violations of expansion/contraction consistency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-236
Number of pages20
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • intransitivity cycles
  • intransitility
  • cycles
  • expansion consistency
  • lotteries


Dive into the research topics of 'Predictably Intransitive Preferences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this