Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Choice proliferation, simplicity seeking, and asset allocation

Contents:

Author Info

  • Iyengar, Sheena S.
  • Kamenica, Emir
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    In settings such as investing for retirement or choosing a drug plan, individuals typically face a large number of options. In this paper, we analyze how the size of the choice set influences which alternative is selected. We present both laboratory experiments and field data that suggest larger choice sets induce a stronger preference for simple, easy-to-understand options. The first experiment demonstrates that, in seeming violation of the weak axiom of revealed preference, subjects are more likely to select a given sure bet over non-degenerate gambles when choosing from a set of 11 options than when choosing from a subset of 3. The second experiment clarifies that large choice sets induce a preference for simpler, rather than less risky, options. Lastly, using records of more than 500,000 employees from 638 institutions, we demonstrate that the presence of more funds in an individual's 401(k) plan is associated with a greater allocation to money market and bond funds at the expense of equity funds.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V76-4YTV7V9-1/2/8bb993511622cb211c991864b9993e14
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

    Volume (Year): 94 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 7-8 (August)
    Pages: 530-539

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:7-8:p:530-539

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

    Related research

    Keywords: Choice overload Contextual inference Retirement savings 401(k) plans;

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2006. "Down or Out: Assessing the Welfare Costs of Household Investment Mistakes," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2107, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Gabriel D. Carroll & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2005. "Optimal Defaults and Active Decisions," NBER Working Papers 11074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2006. "Simplification and Saving," NBER Working Papers 12659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    5. Ben Irons & Cameron Hepburn, 2007. "Regret Theory and the Tyranny of Choice," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(261), pages 191-203, 06.
    6. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    7. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan & Dean Karlan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment," Working Papers 968, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    8. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Liang, Nellie & Weisbenner, Scott, 2007. "Individual account investment options and portfolio choice: Behavioral lessons from 401(k) plans," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(10), pages 1992-2013, November.
    9. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2009. "Fight Or Flight? Portfolio Rebalancing by Individual Investors-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 301-348, February.
    10. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "THE POWER OF SUGGESTION: INERTIA IN 401(k) PARTICIPATION AND SAVINGS BEHAVIOR," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187, November.
    11. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2008. "Fight or Flight? Portfolio Rebalancing by Individual Investors," NBER Working Papers 14177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2007. "Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 81-104, Summer.
    13. Gur Huberman & Wei Jiang, 2006. "Offering versus Choice in 401(k) Plans: Equity Exposure and Number of Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(2), pages 763-801, 04.
    14. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 2002. "How Much Is Investor Autonomy Worth?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1593-1616, 08.
    15. Emir Kamenica, 2008. "Contextual Inference in Markets: On the Informational Content of Product Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2127-49, December.
    16. Todd Sarver, 2008. "Anticipating Regret: Why Fewer Options May Be Better," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 263-305, 03.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Jose De Gregorio, 2012. "Commentary: the dog and the frisbee," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 161-170.
    2. Fels, Markus, 2013. "Limited Attention and the Demand for Health Insurance," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80485, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Cunningham, Thomas, 2013. "Biases and Implicit Knowledge," MPRA Paper 50292, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Estelle Midler & Charles Figuières & Marc Willinger, 2013. "Choice overload, coordination and inequality: three hurdles to the effectiveness of the compensation mechanism?," Working Papers 13-01, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Feb 2013.
    5. Anderson, Robert D.J. & Ashton, John K. & Hudson, Robert S., 2014. "The influence of product age on pricing decisions: An examination of bank deposit interest rate setting," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 216-230.
    6. Heiss, Florian & Leive, Adam & McFadden, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Plan selection in Medicare Part D: Evidence from administrative data," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 65406, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen Utkus, 2012. "Target-Date Funds in 401(k) Retirement Plans," NBER Working Papers 17911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. van Rooij, Maarten & Teppa, Federica, 2014. "Personal traits and individual choices: Taking action in economic and non-economic decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 33-43.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:7-8:p:530-539. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.