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The Weakest Link - A Field Experiment in Rational Decision Making

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Author Info

  • Marco Haan

    (University of Groningen)

  • Bart Los

    (University of Groningen)

  • Yohanes Riyanto

    (National University of Singapore)

  • Martin van Geest

    (University of Groningen)

Abstract

We analyze the BBC TV game show "The Weakest Link", using data from 77 episodes, covering 13,380 questions. We focus on the banking decision, where a contestant chooses to secure an amount of money for the eventual winner, or to risk it on a general knowledge question. In the latter case, should he answer correctly, the amount at stake increases exponentially. We show that banking decisions are not rational: a crude rule of thumb performs substantially better than the contestants’ strategies. Yet, at least to some extent, contestants do take into account their own ability and the fact that questions are progressively more difficult.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/exp/papers/0203/0203001.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 0203001.

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Date of creation: 04 Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0203001

Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on PC - Scientific Workplace;
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: Experimental Economics; TV Game Shows; Bounded Rationality;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. M Haan & P Kooreman, 2002. "Free riding and the provision of candy bars," Natural Field Experiments 00264, The Field Experiments Website.
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Cited by:
  1. Fevrier, Philippe & Linnemer, Laurent, 2006. "Equilibrium selection: Payoff or risk dominance?: The case of the "weakest link"," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 164-181, June.
  2. M Espinosa & J Gardeazabal, 2007. "Do students behave rationally in multiple-choice tests? Evidence from a field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00237, The Field Experiments Website.

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