South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences
On-line version ISSN 2222-3436
Print version ISSN 1015-8812
VIVIAN, Robert W. Ending the myth of the St Petersburg paradox. S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. [online]. 2013, vol.16, n.3, pp.347-356. ISSN 2222-3436.
Nicolas Bernoulli suggested the St Petersburg game, nearly 300 years ago, which is widely believed to produce a paradox in decision theory. This belief stems from a long standing mathematical error in the original calculation of the expected value of the game. This article argues that, in addition to the mathematical error, there are also methodological considerations which gave rise to the paradox. This article explains these considerations and why because of the modern computer, the same considerations, when correctly applied, also demonstrate that no paradox exists. Because of the longstanding belief that a paradox exists it is unlikely the mere mathematical correction will end the myth. The article explains why it is the methodological correction which will dispel the myth.
Keywords : Central Limit Theorem; deductive logic; inductive logic; Law of Large Numbers; simulation of games; economic paradoxes; St Petersburg game; St Petersburg Paradox.