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Decision Making Costs and Problem Solving Performance

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  • Tanga McDaniel

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  • E. Rutström

Abstract

We report the results from an experimental study of how problem solving behavior is affected by financial rewards. We formulate three alternative hypotheses: costly rationality, extrinsic/intrinsic trade-off, and distraction effects. Subjects play a computerized version of the Tower-of-Hanoi game and report their beliefs about the optimal solution through a quadratic scoring rule. Subjects participate in one of two treatments: a high penalty and a low penalty. We find that eliciting beliefs, in addition to observing playing behavior, reveals useful information about subjects' cognitive behavior. We reject our hypothesis that the increase in the extrinsic penalty affects the intrinsic valuation in such a way as to decrease the amount of effort applied. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Suggested Citation

  • Tanga McDaniel & E. Rutström, 2001. "Decision Making Costs and Problem Solving Performance," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 4(2), pages 145-161, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:4:y:2001:i:2:p:145-161
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1011480621103
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-261, April.
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    8. Winston, Gordon C., 1989. "Imperfectly rational choice : Rationality as the result of a costly activity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 67-86, August.
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    10. Pingle, Mark, 1992. "Costly optimization: an experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-30, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David Cooper, 2006. "Are experienced managers experts at overcoming coordination failure?," Artefactual Field Experiments 00037, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    3. Dalton, P.S. & Ghosal, S., 2014. "Self-Confidence, Overconfidence and Prenatal Testorone Exposure : Evidence from the Lab," Discussion Paper 2014-014, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Kocher, Martin G. & Sutter, Matthias, 2006. "Time is money--Time pressure, incentives, and the quality of decision-making," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 375-392, November.
    5. Rydval, Ondrej & Ortmann, Andreas & Ostatnicky, Michal, 2009. "Three very simple games and what it takes to solve them," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 589-601, October.
    6. Steffen Andersen & John Fountain & Glenn Harrison & E. Rutström, 2014. "Estimating subjective probabilities," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 207-229, June.
    7. T. Ballinger & Eric Hudson & Leonie Karkoviata & Nathaniel Wilcox, 2011. "Saving behavior and cognitive abilities," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(3), pages 349-374, September.
    8. Ondrej Rydval, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Cognitive Abilities on Economic Behavior: Evidence from a Forecasting Task with Varying Cognitive Load," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-064, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    9. Patricio S. Dalton & Sayantan Ghosal, 2014. "Self-Confidence, Overconfidence and Prenatal Testosterone Exposure: Evidence from the Lab," Working Papers 2014_02, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    10. Zonna, Davide, 2016. "Sprechi di cibo e tentativi di riduzione. Un caso sperimentale
      [Avoiding food waste. A field experiment]
      ," MPRA Paper 76097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Timothy N. Cason & Charles R. Plott, 2014. "Misconceptions and Game Form Recognition: Challenges to Theories of Revealed Preference and Framing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(6), pages 1235-1270.

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