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Coping with complexity – Experimental evidence for narrow bracketing in multi-stage contests

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  • Stracke, Rudi
  • Kerschbamer, Rudolf
  • Sunde, Uwe

Abstract

This paper investigates whether decision makers bracket their choices narrowly to facilitate complex decision problems. Evidence from a framing variation of rewards in experimental two-stage pairwise elimination contests indicates that decision makers neglect the option value of participation in future stages of the contest if the reward frame facilitates the separate consideration of stages, but not if the reward frame induces forward-looking behavior. Decision makers account for the option value of participation in future stages of the contest independently of the reward frame, however, when complex strategic interactions in future stages of the contest are replaced by simple lotteries that facilitate the determination of the option value. The results present novel evidence for the prevalence and the determinants of choice bracketing as a means to cope with complexity.

Suggested Citation

  • Stracke, Rudi & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Sunde, Uwe, 2017. "Coping with complexity – Experimental evidence for narrow bracketing in multi-stage contests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 264-281.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:264-281
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2017.07.001
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    1. repec:eee:soceco:v:79:y:2019:i:c:p:134-142 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Narrow bracketing; Multi-stage contest; Framing; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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