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A Testable Theory of Imperfect Perception

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  • Andrew Caplin
  • Daniel Martin

Abstract

We introduce a rational choice theory that allows for many forms of imperfect perception, including failures of memory, selective attention, and adherence to simplifying rules of thumb. Despite its generality, the theory has strong, simple, and intuitive implications for standard choice data and for more enriched choice data. The central assumption is rational expectations: decision makers understand the relationship between their perceptions, however limited they may be, and the (stochastic) consequences of their available choices. Our theory separately identifies two distinct "framing" effects: standard effects involving the layout of the prizes (e.g. order in a list) and novel effects relating to the information content of the environment (e.g. how likely is the first in the list to be the best). Simple experimental tests both affirm the basic model and confirm the existence of information-based framing effects.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 786969000000000649.

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Date of creation: 11 Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:786969000000000649

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  1. Matthew Rabin & Georg Weizsacker, 2009. "Narrow Bracketing and Dominated Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1508-43, September.
  2. Richard Thaler, 1985. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 4(3), pages 199-214.
  3. Haluk Ergin & Todd Sarver, 2010. "A Unique Costly Contemplation Representation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1285-1339, 07.
  4. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2009. "What comes to mind," Economics Working Papers 1186, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Nov 2009.
  5. Nakajima, Daisuke & Masatlioglu, Yusufcan, 2013. "Choice by iterative search," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(3), September.
  6. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2006. "Random Expected Utility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 121-146, 01.
  7. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2007. "Sequentially Rationalizable Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1824-1839, December.
  8. Xavier Gabaix, 2011. "A Sparsity-Based Model of Bounded Rationality," NBER Working Papers 16911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Elena Reutskaja & Rosemarie Nagel & Colin F. Camerer & Antonio Rangel, 2011. "Search Dynamics in Consumer Choice under Time Pressure: An Eye-Tracking Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 900-926, April.
  10. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  11. Caplin, Andrew & Dean, Mark, 2011. "Search, choice, and revealed preference," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(1), January.
  12. Yuval Salant & Ariel Rubinstein, 2008. "(A, f): Choice with Frames -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1287-1296.
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Cited by:
  1. Dirk Bergemann & Stephen Morris, 2013. "Bayes Correlated Equilibrium and the Comparison of Information Structures," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000725, David K. Levine.
  2. Altmann, Steffen & Falk, Armin & Grunewald, Andreas, 2013. "Incentives and Information as Driving Forces of Default Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 7610, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Dirk Bergemann & Stephen Morris, 2011. "Correlated Equilibrium in Games with Incomplete Information," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1822, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Adeline Delavande & Basit Zafar, 2012. "How deeply held are anti-American attitudes among Pakistani youth? Evidence using experimental variation in information," Staff Reports 558, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. Cunningham, Thomas, 2013. "Biases and Implicit Knowledge," MPRA Paper 50292, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Dirk Bergemann & Stephen Morris, 2013. "The Comparison of Information Structures in Games: Bayes Correlated Equilibrium and Individual Sufficiency," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000730, David K. Levine.

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