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Age Effects and Heuristics in Decision Making

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  • Sudipta Sarangi

    ()

  • Tibor Besedes
  • Cary Deck
  • Mikhael Shor

Abstract

We examine in controlled experiments how individuals make choices when faced with multiple options. The choice tasks mimic the selection of health insurance, prescription drug, or retirement savings plans. However, in our experiment, the available options can be objectively ranked. We find that the probability of a person selecting the optimal option declines as the number of options increases, with the decline more pronounced for older subjects. Heuristics seem to differ by age with older subjects relying more on suboptimal decision rules. Behavior consistent with the estimated decision rules is observed in an out-of-sample experiment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Louisiana State University in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2009-03.

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Handle: RePEc:lsu:lsuwpp:2009-03

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  1. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 2002. "How Much Is Investor Autonomy Worth?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1593-1616, 08.
  2. Esther Dufluo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Florian Heiss & Daniel McFadden & Joachim Winter, 2010. "Mind the Gap! Consumer Perceptions and Choices of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans," NBER Chapters, in: Research Findings in the Economics of Aging, pages 413-481 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Cole, Catherine A & Balasubramanian, Siva K, 1993. " Age Differences in Consumers' Search for Information: Public Policy Implications," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 157-69, June.
  5. Kovalchik, Stephanie & Camerer, Colin F. & Grether, David M. & Plott, Charles R. & Allman, John M., 2005. "Aging and decision making: a comparison between neurologically healthy elderly and young individuals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 79-94, September.
  6. Colin F. Camerer & Howard Kunreuther, 1989. "Decision processes for low probability events: Policy implications," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 565-592.
  7. Richard G. Frank, 2004. "Behavioral Economics and Health Economics," NBER Working Papers 10881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Keeney,Ralph L. & Raiffa,Howard, 1993. "Decisions with Multiple Objectives," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521438834, October.
  9. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
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Cited by:
  1. Heiss, Florian & Leive, Adam & McFadden, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2013. "Plan selection in Medicare Part D: Evidence from administrative data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1325-1344.
  2. Barrutia Legarreta, José María & Espinosa Alejos, María Paz, 2012. "Consumer Expertise or Credit Risk? An empirical analysis of mortgage pricing," DFAEII Working Papers 2012-04, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
  3. Besedeš, Tibor & Deck, Cary & Sarangi, Sudipta & Shor, Mikhael, 2012. "Decision-making strategies and performance among seniors," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 524-533.
  4. Tibor Besedes & Cary Deck & Sarah Quintanar & Sudipta Sarangi & Mikhael Shor, 2012. "Free-Riding and Performance in Collaborative and Non-Collaborative Groups," Working papers 2012-21, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  5. Tibor Besedes & Cary Deck & Sudipta Sarangi & Mikhael Shor, 2012. "Designing a Sequential Choice Architecture to Reduce Choice Overload," Working papers 2012-24, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  6. Thierry Madiès & Marie Claire Villeval & Malgorzata Wasmer, 2013. "Intergenerational Attitudes Towards Strategic Uncertainty and Competition: A Field Experiment in a Swiss Bank," Post-Print halshs-00807436, HAL.
  7. Berger, Allen N. & Kick, Thomas & Schaeck, Klaus, 2012. "Executive board composition and bank risk taking," Discussion Papers 03/2012, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.

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