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Search and Satisficing

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew Caplin
  • Mark Dean
  • Daniel Martin

Abstract

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)

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Caplin & Mark Dean & Daniel Martin, 2011. "Search and Satisficing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2899-2922, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:7:p:2899-2922
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Campbell, Donald E, 1978. "Realization of Choice Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 171-180, January.
    3. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2007. "Sequentially Rationalizable Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1824-1839, December.
    4. 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.
    5. Ok, Efe A., 2002. "Utility Representation of an Incomplete Preference Relation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 429-449, June.
    6. Rubinstein, Ariel & Salant, Yuval, 2006. "A model of choice from lists," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 3-17, March.
    7. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-1289, November.
    8. Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2011. "Consideration Sets and Competitive Marketing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 235-262.
    9. Caplin, Andrew & Dean, Mark, 2011. "Search, choice, and revealed preference," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(1), January.
    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. J. J. McCall, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-126.
    12. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213.
    13. Masatlioglu, Yusufcan & Nakajima, Daisuke, 2013. "Choice by iterative search," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(3), September.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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