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The role of attribution of causality in economic decision making

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  • Gurevich, Gregory
  • Kliger, Doron
  • Weiner, Bernard

Abstract

Research has established that economic decisions often deviate from game theoretic predictions. We explore the process of causal thinking as a possible explanation for such deviations. Specifically, we suggest that causal information affects economic decisions based on the principles advocated by Weiner's (1985, 1986) attribution theory (AT) of motivation and emotion. Prior research in this area considered only subsets of the dimensions employed by the theory. We test the predictions stemming from AT in contexts where economic decisions involve sharing gains between party members (e.g., splitting profits) and assess how such decisions are affected by the reasons attributed for obtaining the gains. Results indicate a significant link between causal attribution and economic decisions and shed light on the rules and the rationale that guide this link. We conclude that research into economic decision making should pay a greater attention to the explanatory value of AT.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 41 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 439-444

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:41:y:2012:i:4:p:439-444

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

Related research

Keywords: Attribution theory; Decision making; Emotions; Judgment;

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  1. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  2. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  3. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  4. Messick, David M., 1999. "Alternative logics for decision making in social settings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 11-28, May.
  5. DiFonzo, Nicholas & Bordia, Prashant, 2002. "Rumors and stable-cause attribution in prediction and behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 785-800, July.
  6. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "The relative price of fairness: gender differences in a punishment game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 143-158, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Gurevich, Gregory & Kliger, Doron, 2013. "The Manipulation: Socio-economic decision making," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 171-184.

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