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Sequential Observation and Selection with Rank-Dependent Payoffs: An Experimental Study

Author

Listed:
  • J. Neil Bearden

    () (Department of Management and Organizations, Eller College of Management, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721)

  • Amnon Rapoport

    () (Department of Management and Organizations, Eller College of Management, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong)

  • Ryan O. Murphy

    () (Center for Decision Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027)

Abstract

We consider a class of sequential observation and selection decision problems in which applicants are interviewed one at a time, decision makers only learn the applicant's quality relative to the applicants that have been interviewed and rejected, only a single applicant is selected, and payoffs increase in the absolute quality of the selected applicant. Compared to the optimal decision policy, which we compute numerically, results from two experiments show that subjects terminated their search too early. We competitively test three behavioral decision rules and find that a multithreshold rule, which has the same form as the optimal decision policy but is parameterized differently, best accounts for the data. Results from a probability estimation task show that subjects tend to overestimate the absolute quality of early applicants and give insufficient consideration to the yet-to-be-seen applicants.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Neil Bearden & Amnon Rapoport & Ryan O. Murphy, 2006. "Sequential Observation and Selection with Rank-Dependent Payoffs: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(9), pages 1437-1449, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:52:y:2006:i:9:p:1437-1449
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1060.0535
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stein, William E. & Seale, Darryl A. & Rapoport, Amnon, 2003. "Analysis of heuristic solutions to the best choice problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 151(1), pages 140-152, November.
    2. Kogut, Carl A., 1990. "Consumer search behavior and sunk costs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 381-392, December.
    3. Rami Zwick & Amnon Rapoport & Alison King Chung Lo & A. V. Muthukrishnan, 2003. "Consumer Sequential Search: Not Enough or Too Much?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(4), pages 503-519, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:107-124 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Tatjana Chudjakow & Frank Riedel, 2013. "The best choice problem under ambiguity," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 54(1), pages 77-97, September.
    3. Enrico Diecidue & Dolchai La-ornual, 2009. "Reconciling support theory and the book-making principle," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 173-190, June.
    4. Wenjie Tang & J. Neil Bearden & Ilia Tsetlin, 2009. "Ultimatum Deadlines," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(8), pages 1423-1437, August.
    5. Ryvkin, Dmitry, 2010. "The selection efficiency of tournaments," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 206(3), pages 667-675, November.
    6. Dmitry Ryvkin & Andreas Ortmann, 2008. "The Predictive Power of Three Prominent Tournament Formats," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(3), pages 492-504, March.
    7. Chun, Young H., 2015. "Multi-attribute sequential decision problem with optimizing and satisficing attributes," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 243(1), pages 224-232.

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