Theory and Decision 71 (4):643-668 (2011)

In the probability literature, a martingale is often referred to as a “fair game.” A martingale investment is a stochastic sequence of wealth levels, whose expected value at any future stage is equal to the investor’s current wealth. In decision theory, a risk neutral investor would therefore be indifferent between holding on to a martingale investment, and receiving its payoff at any future stage, or giving it up and maintaining his current wealth. But a risk-averse decision maker would not be indifferent between a martingale investment and his current wealth level, since he values uncertain deals less than their mean. A risk seeking decision maker, on the other hand, would readily accept a martingale investment in exchange for his current wealth, and would repeat this investment any number of times. These ideas lead us to introduce the notion of a “risk-adjusted martingale”; a stochastic sequence of wealth levels that a rational decision maker with any attitude toward risk would value constantly with time, and would be indifferent between receiving its pay-off at any future stage, or giving it up and maintaining his current wealth level. We show how to construct such risk-adjusted investments for any decision maker with a continuous monotonic utility function. The fundamental result we derive is that a pay-off structure of an investment (i) is a risk-adjusted martingale and (ii) can be represented by a lattice if and only if the pay-off functions are invariant transformations of the given utility function
Keywords Martingales  Risk aversion  Invariance  Expected utility
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DOI 10.1007/s11238-010-9213-8
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Theory of Games and Economic Behavior.John Von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern - 1944 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.

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