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Past decisions do affect future choices: An experimental demonstration

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  • Arad, Ayala
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    Abstract

    This paper demonstrates experimentally that the mere fact that an alternative was chosen in the past increases the likelihood that it will be re-chosen in the future, when new alternatives are being offered. The experimental design consists of a new variation of the free-choice paradigm that is immune to Chen and Risen’s (2010) criticism of how results have been interpreted in previous studies of post-decision effects. An additional experiment indicates that once participants have chosen a particular alternative they view its characteristics more positively. I suggest that the new design can be used to study various aspects of the effect of past decisions on future ones. In the present paper, I apply it to show that the allocation of limited resources among various uses may be biased in favor of a particular use if it was preferred to another in a previous situation.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 121 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 267-277

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:121:y:2013:i:2:p:267-277

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

    Related research

    Keywords: Cognitive dissonance; Free-choice paradigm; Attitude change;

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    1. Ritov, Ilana & Baron, Jonathan, 1992. " Status-Quo and Omission Biases," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 49-61, February.
    2. M. Keith Chen, 2008. "Rationalization and Cognitive Dissonance: Do Choices Affect or Reflect Preferences?," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1669, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
    4. Russo, J. Edward & Medvec, Victoria Husted & Meloy, Margaret G., 1996. "The Distortion of Information during Decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 102-110, April.
    5. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson & Andreas Fuster, 2011. "Expectations as Endowments: Evidence on Reference-Dependent Preferences from Exchange and Valuation Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1879-1907.
    6. Knetsch, Jack L, 1989. "The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1277-84, December.
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