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Action Bias and Environmental Decisions

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  • Patt, Anthony
  • Zeckhauser, Richard

Abstract

Individuals have a penchant for action, often for good reasons. But action bias arises if that penchant is carried over to areas where those reasons do not apply, hence is nonrational. Action bias is explored theoretically, and then empirically, using data from surveys of hypothetical environmental decisions. Quite apart from agency considerations, individuals like to affect outcomes when gains are reaped. Given the ability to help one of two sites, we find that decision makers choose to foster improvement rather than prevent deterioration, despite framing that makes it arbitrary which site is improved, which preserved. Strong action bias--individuals choosing to reap gains even though they must impose losses--is also observed. These concepts are related to loss aversion, status quo bias, omission bias for losses, and bright-line behavior. Copyright 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Patt, Anthony & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2000. "Action Bias and Environmental Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 45-72, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:21:y:2000:i:1:p:45-72
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    Cited by:

    1. Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Marina Schröder, 2012. "The Desire to Influence Others," FEMM Working Papers 120027, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    2. Bar-Eli, Michael & Azar, Ofer H. & Ritov, Ilana & Keidar-Levin, Yael & Schein, Galit, 2007. "Action bias among elite soccer goalkeepers: The case of penalty kicks," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 606-621, October.
    3. Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & Schröder, Marina, 2016. "Materialistic, pro-social, anti-social, or mixed – A within-subject examination of self- and other-regarding preferences," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 114-124.
    4. Ahmad Barirani & Randolph Sloof & Mirjam van Praag, 2017. "The Origins and Extent of Entrepreneurial Action-Orientedness: An Experimental Study," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-006/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Gernot Wagner & Richard Zeckhauser, 2012. "Climate policy: hard problem, soft thinking," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 507-521, February.
    6. David J. Cooper & Matthias Sutter, 2011. "Role selection and team performance," Working Papers 2011-14, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    7. Cass Sunstein & Richard Zeckhauser, 2011. "Overreaction to Fearsome Risks," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 435-449, March.
    8. repec:eee:soceco:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:70-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:jeeman:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:165-189 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:294-305 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Baron, Jonathan & Ritov, Ilana, 2004. "Omission bias, individual differences, and normality," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 74-85, July.
    12. Krieger, Tim & Meierrieks, Daniel, 2014. "How to deal with international terrorism," Discussion Paper Series 2014-03, University of Freiburg, Wilfried Guth Endowed Chair for Constitutional Political Economy and Competition Policy.
    13. Roy, Devjani & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2013. "Ignorance: Lessons from the Laboratory of Literature," Working Paper Series rwp13-039, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    14. Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & Schröder, Marina, 2017. "Acts of helping and harming," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 77-79.
    15. Azar, Ofer H., 2014. "The default heuristic in strategic decision making: When is it optimal to choose the default without investing in information search?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(8), pages 1744-1748.
    16. George A. Gonzalez, 2016. "Transforming Energy: Solving Climate Change with Technology Policy . New York : Cambridge University Press . 360 pages. ISBN 9781107614970, $29.99 paperback. Anthony Patt , 2015 ," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 33(1), pages 111-113, January.
    17. Paul J. Healy & John Conlon & Yeochang Yoon, 2016. "Information Cascades with Informative Ratings: An Experimental Test," Working Papers 16-05, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
    18. Serhiy Kandul & Olexandr Nikolaychuk, 2017. "I deserve more! An experimental analysis of illusory ownership in dictator games," IRENE Working Papers 17-12, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    19. Serhiy Kandul & Oliver Kirchkamp, 2016. "Do I care if others lie? Current and future effects of delegation of lying," Jena Economic Research Papers 2016-011, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    20. Hammitt, James K. & Herrera-Araujo, Daniel, 2017. "Peeling back the onion: Using latent class analysis to uncover heterogeneous responses to stated preference surveys," TSE Working Papers 17-766, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    21. Tasic Slavisa, 2011. "Are Regulators Rational?," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 17(1), pages 1-21, April.

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