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The default pull: An experimental demonstration of subtle default effects on preferences

Author

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  • Nikhil Dhingra
  • Zach Gorn
  • Andrew Kener
  • Jason Dana

Abstract

The impact of default options on choice is a reliable, well-established behavioral finding. However, several different effects may lend to choosing defaults in an often indistinguishable manner, including loss aversion, inattention, information leakage, and transaction costs associated with switching. We introduce the notion of the ``default pull'' as the effect that even subtle default options have on decision makers' uncertainty about their own preferences. The default pull shapes what a decision maker prefers by causing her to consider whether she prefers the default. We demonstrate default pull effects using a simple decision making task that strips away many of the usual reasons that defaults could affect choices, and we show that defaults can have substantial effects on choice, even when the default itself was not chosen.

Suggested Citation

  • Nikhil Dhingra & Zach Gorn & Andrew Kener & Jason Dana, 2012. "The default pull: An experimental demonstration of subtle default effects on preferences," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(1), pages 69-76, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:7:y:2012:i:1:p:69-76
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:spr:sochwe:v:48:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00355-017-1036-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1792-1812 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Lenka Fiala & Charles N. Noussair, 2017. "Charitable Giving, Emotions, And The Default Effect," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1792-1812, October.
    4. Janice Y. Jung & Barbara A. Mellers, 2016. "American attitudes toward nudges," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, pages 62-74.
    5. Gärtner, Manja & Sandberg, Anna, 2014. "Is there an omission effect in prosocial behavior?," SSE Working Paper Series in Economics 2014:1, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 03 Dec 2015.
    6. Cappelletti, Dominique & Mittone, Luigi & Ploner, Matteo, 2014. "Are default contributions sticky? An experimental analysis of defaults in public goods provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 331-342.

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    Keywords

    default; loss aversion; uncertainty.;

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