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Decision Making Costs and Problem Solving Performance

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  • Tanga McDaniel

    ()

  • E. Rutström

Abstract

We report the results from an experimental study of how problem solving behavior is affected by financial rewards. We formulate three alternative hypotheses: costly rationality, extrinsic/intrinsic trade-off, and distraction effects. Subjects play a computerized version of the Tower-of-Hanoi game and report their beliefs about the optimal solution through a quadratic scoring rule. Subjects participate in one of two treatments: a high penalty and a low penalty. We find that eliciting beliefs, in addition to observing playing behavior, reveals useful information about subjects' cognitive behavior. We reject our hypothesis that the increase in the extrinsic penalty affects the intrinsic valuation in such a way as to decrease the amount of effort applied. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1011480621103
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 145-161

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Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:4:y:2001:i:2:p:145-161

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102888

Related research

Keywords: experiments; financial incentives; quadratic scoring rule;

References

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  1. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
  2. Harrison, Glenn W, 1989. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 749-62, September.
  3. Wilcox, Nathaniel T, 1993. "Lottery Choice: Incentives, Complexity and Decision Time," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(421), pages 1397-1417, November.
  4. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-61, April.
  5. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-55, December.
  6. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  7. Harrison, Glenn W, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1426-43, December.
  8. Pingle, Mark, 1992. "Costly optimization: an experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-30, January.
  9. Heiner, Ronald A., 1988. "The necessity of imperfect decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 29-55, July.
  10. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Rewards, Experience and Decision Costs in First Price Auctions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 237-45, April.
  11. Conlisk, John, 1988. "Optimization cost," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 213-228, April.
  12. Winston, Gordon C., 1989. "Imperfectly rational choice : Rationality as the result of a costly activity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 67-86, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Ondrej Rydval, 2012. "The Causal Effect of Cognitive Abilities on Economic Behavior: Evidence from a Forecasting Task with Varying Cognitive Load," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp457, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  3. Patricio S. Dalton & Sayantan Ghosal, 2014. "Self-Confidence, Overconfidence and Prenatal Testosterone Exposure: Evidence from the Lab," Working Papers 2014_02, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  4. T. Ballinger & Eric Hudson & Leonie Karkoviata & Nathaniel Wilcox, 2011. "Saving behavior and cognitive abilities," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 349-374, September.
  5. Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann & Michal Ostatnicky, 2007. "Three Very Simple Games and What It Takes to Solve Them," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-092, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  6. Ondrej Rydval, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Cognitive Abilities on Economic Behavior: Evidence from a Forecasting Task with Varying Cognitive Load," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-064, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  7. Dalton, P.S. & Ghosal, S., 2014. "Self-Confidence, Overconfidence and Prenatal Testorone Exposure: Evidence from the Lab," Discussion Paper 2014-014, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. David Cooper, 2006. "Are experienced managers experts at overcoming coordination failure?," Artefactual Field Experiments 00037, The Field Experiments Website.

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