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The “play-out” effect and preference reversals: Evidence for noisy maximization

Author

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

Abstract

In this paper, we document a “play-out” effect in preference reversal experiments. We compare data where preferences are elicited using (1) purely hypothetical gambles, (2) played-out, but unpaid gambles and (3) played-out gambles with truth-revealing monetary payments. We ask whether a model of stable preferences with random errors (e.g., expected utility with errors) can explain the data. The model is strongly rejected in data collected using purely hypothetical gambles. However, simply playing-out the gambles, even in the absence of payments, shifts the data pattern so that noisy maximization is no longer rejected. Inducing risk preferences using a lottery procedure, using monetary incentives or both shift the data pattern further so that noisy maximization achieves the best possible fit to the aggregate data. No model could fit the data better. We argue that play-out shifts the response pattern by inducing value because subjects can use outcomes to “keep score.” Induction or monetary payments create stronger induced values, shifting the pattern further.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:94:y:2013:i:c:p:160-171
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2012.09.012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hsee, Christopher K, et al, 2003. " Medium Maximization," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(1), pages 1-14, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Jamal, Karim & Sunder, Shyam, 1991. "Money vs gaming: Effects of salient monetary payments in double oral auctions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 151-166, June.
    4. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    5. Sheremeta, Roman M., 2010. "Experimental comparison of multi-stage and one-stage contests," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 731-747, March.
    6. Grether, David M & Plott, Charles R, 1979. "Economic Theory of Choice and the Preference Reversal Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 623-638, September.
    7. Rietz, Thomas A, 1993. "Implementing and Testing Risk-Preference-Induction Mechanisms in Experimental Sealed-Bid Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 199-213, October.
    8. Sarah Lichtenstein & Paul Slovic, 1973. "Response-induced reversals of preference in gambling: An extended replication in las vegas," Framed Field Experiments 00169, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Berg, Joyce E & Dickhaut, John W & Rietz, Thomas A, 2003. "Preference Reversals and Induced Risk Preferences: Evidence for Noisy Maximization," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 139-170, October.
    10. Joyce E. Berg & Lane A. Daley & John W. Dickhaut & John R. O'Brien, 1986. "Controlling Preferences for Lotteries on Units of Experimental Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 281-306.
    11. Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-279, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preference reversal; Risky choice; Decision making; Uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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