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Aging and decision making: a comparison between neurologically healthy elderly and young individuals

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  • Kovalchik, Stephanie
  • Camerer, Colin F.
  • Grether, David M.
  • Plott, Charles R.
  • Allman, John M.

Abstract

We report the results of experiments on economic decisions with two populations, one of healthy elderly individuals (average age 82) and one of younger students (average age 20). We examine confidence, decisions under uncertainty, differences between willingness to pay and willingness to accept and the theory of mind (strategic thinking). Our findings indicate that the older adults' decision behavior is similar to that of young adults, contrary to the notion that economic decision making is impaired with age. Choices over lotteries do not reflect the age differences previously reported in the psychology and biology literature. Moreover, some of the demonstrated decision behaviors suggest that the elderly individuals are less biased than the younger individuals.(1)There is a greater prevalence of overconfident behavior in the younger population. (2) Our results show no significant support for a theory of an endowment effect in either population. (3) Both populations perform similarly on the beauty contest task, although there is a modest indication of a higher incidence of confused behavior by the older

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 58 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 79-94

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:58:y:2005:i:1:p:79-94

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  1. Soll, Jack B., 1996. "Determinants of Overconfidence and Miscalibration: The Roles of Random Error and Ecological Structure," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 117-137, February.
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  12. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-48, December.
  13. Powell, Melanie & Ansic, David, 1997. "Gender differences in risk behaviour in financial decision-making: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 605-628, November.
  14. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  15. Knetsch, Jack L & Sinden, J A, 1984. "Willingness to Pay and Compensation Demanded: Experimental Evidence of an Unexpected Disparity in Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(3), pages 507-21, August.
  16. Maria Giovanna Devetag & Massimo Warglien, 2002. "Games and phone numbers: do short term memory bounds affect strategic behavior?," CEEL Working Papers 0211, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
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