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Securing victory or not? Surrendering optimal play when facing simple calculations -- a natural experiment from the Swedish and US Jeopardy

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  • Gabriella Sjögren Lindquist
  • Jenny Säve-Söderbergh

Abstract

This article empirically investigates the common assumption of economic agents’ capabilities to process complex mathematical problems to find optimal strategies applied in economic modelling. By exploiting a design difference in the game show Jeopardy between the US and Sweden, we obtain a natural experiment of individuals facing an optimization decision either having explicit information or deriving it by noncomplex adding and subtracting. Given the assumption that individuals compute optimally, there should be no difference in the strategies used. Yet, the results show that even a small change in informational pre-conditions for obtaining an optimal strategy strongly alters economic-decision making.

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  • Gabriella Sjögren Lindquist & Jenny Säve-Söderbergh, 2012. "Securing victory or not? Surrendering optimal play when facing simple calculations -- a natural experiment from the Swedish and US Jeopardy," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(6), pages 777-783, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:44:y:2012:i:6:p:777-783
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2010.522525
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    1. Thierry Post & Martijn J. van den Assem & Guido Baltussen & Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 38-71, March.
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