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  1. #1
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Default Cost-risk of death

    A curious question (again from Overcoming Bias);

    What is the least money would you ask for to accept for taking one in one billion chance of dying?

    (My answer is $14 in case anyone is curious.)

    What about one in one million? What about 1 in 2?

    I'm curious how people answer this more than the answer themselves. Would you ever accept this bet?

  2. #2
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    A curious question (again from Overcoming Bias);

    What is the least money would you ask for to accept for taking one in one billion chance of dying?

    (My answer is $14 in case anyone is curious.)

    What about one in one million? What about 1 in 2?

    I'm curious how people answer this more than the answer themselves. Would you ever accept this bet?
    $250. I wouldn't be worried about dying, but I need $250 so if someone is going to pay me then, what the hell.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

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    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    What is the least money would you ask for to accept for taking one in one billion chance of dying?

    (My answer is $14 in case anyone is curious.)
    I'm more curious why you settled on $14.

    I'm curious how people answer this more than the answer themselves. Would you ever accept this bet?
    Some desperate days, I might be in a "WTH" mood and figure that the payoff is worth it for all I could get from it and if I die, well, then at least THIS is all over with.

    I might go for 1% chance of dying, but not much lower, on my "sane" days. That seems a high enough chance to get a decent wad of money, but a low enough chance that I probably won't die. And I guess I should stipulate that aside from my current "issues" that demand money to resolve, I think I might not even take the bet just to get money for mundane things like cars and houses. (I would only do it to pay for my upcoming medical bills and the kids' tuition.)

    Of course, my answer would be a lot different if I could get a payoff for someone ELSE'S [no names in mind right now] increased risk of dying.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I'm more curious why you settled on $14.
    That's a secret (Sort of an explanation below)

    Some desperate days, I might be in a "WTH" mood and figure that the payoff is worth it for all I could get from it and if I die, well, then at least THIS is all over with.
    Uh huh... but what payoff do you think that is?

    The reason for the 1:2 question is because it reflects an innate sense of morality - that you could sacrifice yourself for a 50% chance to gain money to make a different in other lives. For example, at a trillion dollars, it's could be no longer selfish and so the question is what could you do with it?

    In your situation, the marginal value of a certain amount of money is higher and may not be risk-adjusted (same with metamorphisis' answer - based upon amount needed regardless of risk, since we approximate the low risk to near-0, whereas you also argue that the impact of death would have a less negative balance for you in certain states of mind). If you say that amount for the 1:billion, however, the reality is that you are likely taking risks far greater than the actual risk-adjusted reward you live in your own life.

    Theoretically, you should always take the risk adjusted amount that you take in your normal life anyway... afterall, you could take it and then save ($14) by not shopping as far away, spending it somewhere close by.

  5. #5
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    The money I expect to make during my lifetime is $2M. I would expect to get maximum of 50% increased utility in my life from additional $2M, but no more. So if I make comparison between utility / life, I can say that 1/3 of a life is worth $2M to me. So, 1 life is worth $6M and I'd be willing to trade $0.006 for 1 in a billion chance of death.

    This approach disregards theological and other approaches to the value of life. This formula is also not valid for high enough stakes, i.e. one where I have 100% chance of death and recieve huge amounts of money.

    The money I'd accept from a random chance of dieing would also be decreased if I would be more assured of the theological approaches to the universe, i.e. that there is a god.

  6. #6
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I can't answer that in terms of numbers only. I would need to know the situation - what I will be doing for that increased risk, the benefits/costs associated with that activity, how badly I needed the money, what other options I had for earning money, etc etc.

    In general I am very cautious, though. I would certainly not accept a risk as high as 1%, unless I were in very dire straits for some reason. 1 in a billion is obviously a different situation, which would not really concern me. In the middle, it's situational.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Santtu View Post
    The money I expect to make during my lifetime is $2M. I would expect to get maximum of 50% increased utility in my life from additional $2M, but no more. So if I make comparison between utility / life, I can say that 1/3 of a life is worth $2M to me. So, 1 life is worth $6M and I'd be willing to trade $0.006 for 1 in a billion chance of death.

    This approach disregards theological and other approaches to the value of life. This formula is also not valid for high enough stakes, i.e. one where I have 100% chance of death and recieve huge amounts of money.
    Very interesting... I never thought of approaching it this way.

    Would you agree that you'd take a 50% chance of death for 3Mil? What chance would you take for 6Mil? (How do you adjust the 1/3 of a life?)

  8. #8
    Senior Member Recluse's Avatar
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    With my luck, I wouldn't accept any variation of the bet. However, I did offer my kidney to someone with renal failure.

    Incidentally, I've been informed that I won't be able to qualify for the donation if I can't overcome/mask the anxiety related to my agoraphobia. Apparently, the physicians won't accept a living donor who has a medical issue such as anxiety. This finickiness annoys me, under the circumstances. The decision should be mine alone. Damn doctors!

    I suppose that my offer is a way of accepting a bet similar to what you suggested, since every operation carries some risk of death (though slight in this case). Not everyone is motivated by money. But the concept is similar.

    Why did you choose money as the main motivator?


    This person still needs a kidney, by the way, so if anyone without a medical or psychological condition is willing to donate, they would be extending a life. The human body only needs one kidney, which will take over the functions of the other if the other is removed.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recluse View Post
    Why did you choose money as the main motivator?
    I'm not sure I understand... what would you pose as an alternative?

  10. #10
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Very interesting... I never thought of approaching it this way.

    Would you agree that you'd take a 50% chance of death for 3Mil? What chance would you take for 6Mil? (How do you adjust the 1/3 of a life?)
    No, the maximum increase of utility I expect from any amount of money is about 50%. SO I would accept a maximum of 1/3 risk of death for any amount of money, including infinite amount, but starting from $2M. I would have to solve the theological arguments in my life first before accepting the deal tho. This approach will maximize the expected utility during lifetime.
    Edit: I did calculations in a hurry. I will have to correct them.

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