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Search and Satisficing

  • Andrew Caplin
  • Mark Dean
  • Daniel Martin

Many everyday decisions are made without full examination of all available options, and, as a result, the best available option may be missed. We develop a search-theoretic choice experiment to study the impact of incomplete consideration on the quality of choices. We find that many decisions can be understood using the satisficing model of Herbert Simon (1955): most subjects search sequentially, stopping when a "satisficing" level of reservation utility is realized. We find that reservation utilities and search order respond systematically to changes in the decision making environment. (JEL D03, D12, D83)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 7 (December)
Pages: 2899-2922

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:7:p:2899-2922
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  1. Andrew Caplin & Mark Dean & Daniel Martin, 2011. "Search and Satisficing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2899-2922, December.
  2. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
  3. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
  4. Nakajima, Daisuke & Masatlioglu, Yusufcan, 2013. "Choice by iterative search," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(3), September.
  5. Eliaz, Kfir & Spiegler, Ran, 2006. "Consideration Sets and Competitive Marketing," MPRA Paper 21434, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 03 Sep 2009.
  6. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2007. "Sequentially Rationalizable Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1824-1839, December.
  7. Campbell, Donald E, 1978. "Realization of Choice Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 171-80, January.
  8. 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.
  9. Rubinstein, Ariel & Salant, Yuval, 2006. "A model of choice from lists," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 3-17, March.
  10. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2006. "Costly Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1043-1068, September.
  11. Caplin, Andrew & Dean, Mark, 2011. "Search, choice, and revealed preference," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(1), January.
  12. repec:oup:qjecon:v:84:y:1970:i:1:p:113-26 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Ok, Efe A., 2002. "Utility Representation of an Incomplete Preference Relation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 429-449, June.
  14. Pavlo R. Blavatskyy & Ganna Pogrebna, 2010. "Models of stochastic choice and decision theories: why both are important for analyzing decisions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(6), pages 963-986.
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