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Managers and Students as Newsvendors - How Out-of-Task Experience Matters

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  • Gary E Bolton
  • Axel Ockenfels
  • Ulrich Thonemann

Abstract

We compare how freshmen business students, graduate business students and experienced procurement managers perform on a simple inventory ordering task. We find that, qualitatively, managers exhibit ordering behavior similar to students, including biased ordering towards average demand. Experience, however, affects subjects’ utilization of information. The managers’ work experience seems most valuable when there is only historical demand data to guide decision making, while students better utilize analytical information and task training. As a result, when information necessary to solve the problem to optimality is added to historical information, students catch up to the managers, and students with classroom experience in operations management outperform managers.

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Paper provided by University of Cologne, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 39.

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Date of creation: 25 Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0039

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  1. Uri Ben-Zion & Yuval Cohen & Ruth Peled & TAL SHAVIT, 2007. "Decision-Making and the Newsvendor Problem – An Experimental Study," Working Papers, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics 0711, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
  2. Ben Greiner, 2004. "The Online Recruitment System ORSEE - A Guide for the Organization of Experiments in Economics," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-10, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  3. David J. Cooper, 1999. "Gaming against Managers in Incentive Systems: Experimental Results with Chinese Students and Chinese Managers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 781-804, September.
  4. David Cooper & John Kagel & Wei Lo & Qing Liang Gu, 1999. "Gaming against managers in incentive systems: Experimental results with chinese students and chinese managers," Artefactual Field Experiments 00038, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Ben Greiner, 2004. "The Online Recruitment System ORSEE 2.0 - A Guide for the Organization of Experiments in Economics," Working Paper Series in Economics, University of Cologne, Department of Economics 10, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  6. Gary E. Bolton & Elena Katok, 2008. "Learning by Doing in the Newsvendor Problem: A Laboratory Investigation of the Role of Experience and Feedback," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 10(3), pages 519-538, September.
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