IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v104y2014i6p1518-50.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Who Is (More) Rational?

Author

Listed:
  • Syngjoo Choi
  • Shachar Kariv
  • Wieland M?ller
  • Dan Silverman

Abstract

Revealed preference theory offers a criterion for decision-making quality: if decisions are high quality then there exists a utility function the choices maximize. We conduct a large-scale experiment to test for consistency with utility maximization. Consistency scores vary markedly within and across socioeconomic groups. In particular, consistency is strongly related to wealth: a standard deviation increase in consistency is associated with 15-19 percent more household wealth. This association is quantitatively robust to conditioning on correlates of unobserved constraints, preferences, and beliefs. Consistency with utility maximization under laboratory conditions thus captures decision-making ability that applies across domains and influences important real-world outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Syngjoo Choi & Shachar Kariv & Wieland M?ller & Dan Silverman, 2014. "Who Is (More) Rational?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1518-1550, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:6:p:1518-50
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.6.1518
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.104.6.1518
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/app/10406/20110458_app.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/10406/20110458_data.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/ds/10406/20110458_ds.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2009. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 51-104.
    2. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2010. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1238-1260, June.
    3. Casper Ewijk & Bas Jacobs & Ruud Mooij, 2007. "Welfare Effects of Fiscal Subsidies on Home Ownership in the Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 323-336, September.
    4. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    5. Tullio Jappelli, 2010. "Economic Literacy: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 429-451, November.
    6. James Banks, 2010. "Cognitive Function, Financial Literacy and Financial Outcomes at Older Ages: Introduction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 357-362, November.
    7. Shachar Kariv & Dan Silverman, 2013. "An Old Measure of Decision-Making Quality Sheds New Light on Paternalism," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 169(1), pages 29-44, March.
    8. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
    9. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    10. Nicola Lacetera & Devin G. Pope & Justin R. Sydnor, 2012. "Heuristic Thinking and Limited Attention in the Car Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2206-2236, August.
    11. John Quiggin, 1990. "Stochastic Dominance in Regret Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 503-511.
    12. Brown, Charles, 1976. "A Model of Optimal Human-Capital Accumulation and the Wages of Young High School Graduates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 299-316, April.
    13. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2006. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 607-643, August.
    14. James Banks & Cormac O'Dea & Zoë Oldfield, 2010. "Cognitive Function, Numeracy and Retirement Saving Trajectories," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 381-410, November.
    15. Sumit Agarwal & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2013. "Cognitive Abilities and Household Financial Decision Making," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 193-207, January.
    16. Steffen Andersen & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & E. Rutström, 2009. "Elicitation using multiple price list formats," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(3), pages 365-366, September.
    17. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1007-1047.
    18. James P. Smith & John J. McArdle & Robert Willis, 2010. "Financial Decision Making and Cognition in a Family Context," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 363-380, November.
    19. Gerard J. vandenBerg & Dorly J.H. Deeg & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2010. "The Role of Early-Life Conditions in the Cognitive Decline due to Adverse Events Later in Life," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 411-428, November.
    20. Charles Bellemare & Sabine Kröger & Arthur van Soest, 2008. "Measuring Inequity Aversion in a Heterogeneous Population Using Experimental Decisions and Subjective Probabilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(4), pages 815-839, July.
    21. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Garrett, Daniel M., 2003. "The effects of financial education in the workplace: evidence from a survey of households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1487-1519, August.
    22. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
    23. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2007. "Baby Boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 205-224, January.
    24. Federico Echenique & Sangmok Lee & Matthew Shum, 2011. "The Money Pump as a Measure of Revealed Preference Violations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(6), pages 1201-1223.
    25. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    26. Peter Wakker, 1993. "Savage's Axioms Usually Imply Violation of Strict Stochastic Dominance," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(2), pages 487-493.
    27. James P. Smith & John J. McArdle & Robert Willis, 2010. "Financial Decision Making and Cognition in a Family Context," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 363-380, November.
    28. Hanming Fang & Michael P. Keane & Dan Silverman, 2008. "Sources of Advantageous Selection: Evidence from the Medigap Insurance Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 303-350, April.
    29. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-632, Nov.-Dec..
    30. Eugenio J. Miravete, 2003. "Choosing the Wrong Calling Plan? Ignorance and Learning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 297-310, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Nolan, Anne & Doorley, Karina, 2019. "Financial Literacy and Preparation for Retirement," IZA Discussion Papers 12187, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Sinning, Mathias G., 2016. "Locus of control and savings," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 113-130.
    3. Maarten C.J. van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob J.M. Alessie, 2012. "Financial Literacy, Retirement Planning and Household Wealth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(560), pages 449-478, May.
    4. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2014. "The Economic Importance of Financial Literacy: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(1), pages 5-44, March.
    5. Estrada-Mejia, Catalina & de Vries, Marieke & Zeelenberg, Marcel, 2016. "Numeracy and wealth," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 53-63.
    6. Nolan, Anne & Whelan, Adele & McGuinness, Seamus & Maître, Bertrand, 2019. "Gender, pensions and income in retirement," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS87.
    7. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Sonja C. Kassenboehmer & Mathias G. Sinning, 2013. "Locus of Control and Savings," Ruhr Economic Papers 0455, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    8. Sandro Ambuehl & B. Douglas Bernheim & Annamaria Lusardi, 2014. "A Method for Evaluating the Quality of Financial Decision Making, with an Application to Financial Education," NBER Working Papers 20618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Zuzana Brokesova & Andrej Cupak & Gueorgui Kolev, 2017. "Financial literacy and voluntary savings for retirement in Slovakia," Working and Discussion Papers WP 10/2017, Research Department, National Bank of Slovakia.
    10. Annamaria Lusardi, 2008. "Household Saving Behavior: The Role of Financial Literacy, Information, and Financial Education Programs," NBER Working Papers 13824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Sloan, Frank A. & Eldred, Lindsey M. & Xu, Yanzhi, 2014. "The behavioral economics of drunk driving," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 64-81.
    12. Bucciol, Alessandro & Veronesi, Marcella, 2014. "Teaching children to save: What is the best strategy for lifetime savings?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 1-17.
    13. Bahovec Vlasta & Barbić Dajana & Palić Irena, 2017. "The Regression Analysis of Individual Financial Performance: Evidence from Croatia," Business Systems Research, Sciendo, vol. 8(2), pages 1-13, September.
    14. repec:zbw:rwirep:0455 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Ji Yong Lee & Rodolfo M. Nayga & Cary Deck & Andreas C. Drichoutis, 2020. "Cognitive Ability and Bidding Behavior in Second Price Auctions: An Experimental Study," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 102(5), pages 1494-1510, October.
    16. Teresa Bago d'Uva & Esen Erdogan Ciftci & Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2015. "Who can predict their Own Demise? Accuracy of Longevity Expectations by Education and Cognition," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-052/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    17. Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell & Ralph Rogalla & Tatjana Schimetschek, 2014. "Will They Take the Money and Work? An Empirical Analysis of People’s Willingness to Delay Claiming Social Security Benefits for a Lump Sum," Working Papers wp308, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    18. Catalina Estrada‐Mejia & Ellen Peters & Nathan F. Dieckmann & Marcel Zeelenberg & Marieke De Vries & David P. Baker, 2020. "Schooling, numeracy, and wealth accumulation: A study involving an agrarian population," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 648-674, June.
    19. Lee, Ji Yong & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Deck, Cary & Drichoutis, Andreas, 2017. "Cognitive Ability and Bidding Behavior in Experimental Auction," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258347, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    20. Bago d'Uva, Teresa & O'Donnell, Owen & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2020. "Who can predict their own demise? Heterogeneity in the accuracy and value of longevity expectations☆," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 17(C).
    21. Sérgio Almeida De Sousa & Marcos De Almeida Rangel, 2014. "Do As I Do, Not As I Say: Incentivization And The Relationship Between Cognitive Ability And Riskaversion," Anais do XL Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 40th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 126, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:6:p:1518-50. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.