Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

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Suffering a Loss Is Good Fortune: Myth or Reality?


We sometimes decide to take an offered option that results in apparent loss (e.g., unpaid overtime). Mainstream decision theory does not predict or explain this as a choice we want to make, whereas such a choice has long been described and highly regarded by the traditional Chinese dogma “吃亏是福” (suffering a loss is good fortune). To explore what makes the dogma work, we developed a celebrity anecdote‐based scale to measure “Chikui” (suffering a loss) likelihood and found that:(i) people with higher scores on the Chikui Likelihood Scale (CLS) were more likely to report higher scores on subjective well‐being and the Socioeconomic Index for the present and (ii) the current Socioeconomic Index could be positively predicted not only by current CLS scores but also by retrospective CLS scores recalled for the past, and the predictive effect was enhanced with increasing time intervals. Our findings suggest that “suffering a loss is good fortune” is not a myth but a certain reality. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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