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Testing the rationality assumption using a design difference in the TV game show 'Jeopardy'

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  • Sjögren Lindquist, Gabriella

    ()
    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

  • Säve-Söderbergh, Jenny

    ()
    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

Abstract

This paper empirically investigates the rationality assumption commonly applied in economic modeling by exploiting a design difference in the game-show Jeopardy between the US and Sweden. In particular we address the assumption of individuals’ capabilities to process complex mathematical problems to find optimal strategies. The vital difference is that US contestants are given explicit information before they act, while Swedish contestants individually need to calculate the same information. Given a rationality assumption of individuals computing optimally, there should be no difference in the strategies used. However, in contrast to the rational and focal bidding behaviors found in the US, the Swedish players display no optimal behavior. Hence, when facing too complex decisions, individuals abandon optimal strategies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Swedish Institute for Social Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 9/2006.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 28 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming as Sjögren Lindquist, Gabriella and Jenny Säve-Söderbergh, 'Testing the rationality assumption using a design difference in the TV game show 'Jeopardy'' in Applied Economics.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2006_009

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Keywords: Rationality; Bounded Rationality; Field Experiments;

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References

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  1. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1449-1475, December.
  2. Thierry Post & Martijn J. van den Assem & Guido Baltussen & Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 38-71, March.
  3. Rafael Tenorio & Timothy N. Cason, 2002. "To Spin or Not to Spin? Natural and Laboratory Experiments from "The Price is Right"," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 170-195, January.
  4. Kachelmeier, Steven J & Shehata, Mohamed, 1992. "Examining Risk Preferences under High Monetary Incentives: Experimental Evidence from the People's Republic of China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1120-41, December.
  5. Metrick, Andrew, 1995. "A Natural Experiment in "Jeopardy!"," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 240-53, March.
  6. Beetsma, R.M.W.J. & Schotman, P.C., 1998. "Measuring Risk Attitudes in a Natural Experiment: Data from The Television Game Show LINGO," Papers 98-48, Southern California - School of Business Administration.
  7. Ernst Fehr & Jean-Robert Tyran, . "Individual Irrationality and Aggregate Outcomes," IEW - Working Papers 252, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Connel Fullenkamp & Rafael Tenorio & Robert Battalio, 2003. "Assessing Individual Risk Attitudes Using Field Data From Lottery Games," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 218-226, February.
  9. Berk, Jonathan B & Hughson, Eric & Vandezande, Kirk, 1996. "The Price Is Right, but Are the Bids? An Investigation of Rational Decision Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 954-70, September.
  10. Healy, P. & Noussair, C., 2000. "Bidding Behavior in the Price is Right Game: an Experimental Study," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1132, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  11. Bennett, Randall W. & Hickman, Kent A., 1993. "Rationality and the 'price is right'," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 99-105, May.
  12. Cary Deck & Jungmin Lee & Javier Reyes, 2008. "Risk attitudes in large stake gambles: evidence from a game show," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 41-52.
  13. Kate Antonovics & Peter Arcidiacono & Randall Walsh, 2005. "Games and Discrimination: Lessons From The Weakest Link," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 918-947.
  14. Gertner, Robert, 1993. "Game Shows and Economic Behavior: Risk-Taking on "Card Sharks."," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 507-21, May.
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