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Preference reversals: The impact of truth-revealing monetary incentives

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  • Berg, Joyce E.
  • Dickhaut, John W.
  • Rietz, Thomas A.

Abstract

Researchers vigorously debate the impact of incentives in preference reversal experiments. Do incentives alter behavior and generate economically consistent choices? Lichtenstein and Slovic (1971) document inconsistencies (reversals) in revealed preference in gamble pairs across paired choice and individual pricing tasks. The observed pattern is inconsistent with stable underlying preferences expressed with simple errors. Lichtenstein and Slovic (1973) and Grether and Plott (1979) introduce incentives, but aggregate reversal rates change little. These results fostered numerous replications and assertions that models of non-stable preferences are required to explain reversals. Contrary to this research, we find that incentives can generate more economically consistent behavior. Our reevaluation of existing experimental data shows that incentives have a clear impact by better aligning aggregate choices and prices. The effect is sufficiently large that, with truth-revealing incentives, a stable-preferences-with-error model not only explains behavior, but fits the data as well as any model possibly could.

Suggested Citation

  • Berg, Joyce E. & Dickhaut, John W. & Rietz, Thomas A., 2010. "Preference reversals: The impact of truth-revealing monetary incentives," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 443-468, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:68:y:2010:i:2:p:443-468
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan T. Trautmann & Ferdinand M. Vieider & Peter P. Wakker, 2011. "Preference Reversals for Ambiguity Aversion," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(7), pages 1320-1333, July.
    2. Guillaume Hollard & Hela Maafi & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2016. "Consistent inconsistencies? Evidence from decision under risk," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 80(4), pages 623-648, April.
    3. repec:kap:jrisku:v:54:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11166-017-9251-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Michael H. Birnbaum & Ulrich Schmidt & Miriam D. Schneider, 2017. "Testing independence conditions in the presence of errors and splitting effects," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 61-85, February.
    5. Dwenger, Nadja & Kübler, Dorothea & Weizsäcker, Georg, 2014. "Flipping a coin: Theory and evidence," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-201r, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    6. Joao V. Ferreira & Nobuyuki Hanaki & Benoît Tarroux, 2017. "On the Roots of the Intrinsic Value of Decision Rights: Evidence from France and Japan," GREDEG Working Papers 2017-29, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    7. Kassas, Bachir & Palma, Marco A. & Zhang, Yvette, 2016. "The role of incentives on preference revelations in auctions versus rankings," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 73-85.
    8. Nadja Dwenger & Dorothea Kübler & Georg Weizsäcker, 2013. "Preference for Randomization: Empirical and Experimental Evidence," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2013-004, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    9. Berg, Joyce E. & Dickhaut, John W. & Rietz, Thomas A., 2013. "The “play-out” effect and preference reversals: Evidence for noisy maximization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 160-171.

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