A representation theorem for guilt aversion

Martin Jensen, Maria Kozlovskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Guilt aversion has been shown to play an important role in economic decision-making. In this paper, we take an axiomatic approach to guilt by deducing a utility representation from a list of easily interpretable assumptions on an agent's preferences. It turns out that our logarithmic representation can mitigate the problem of multiplicity of equilibria to which psychological games are prone. We apply the model in three well-known games and show that its predictions are consistent with experimental observations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-161
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


  • Guilt aversion
  • Psychological games
  • Utility representation


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