IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/wly/mgtdec/v27y2006i6p511-526.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Benefit packages and individual behavior: choices over discrete goods with multiple attributes

Author

Listed:
  • Mark Van Boening

    (Department of Economics, University of Mississippi, Holman Hall 373, University, MS 38677, USA)

  • Tanja F. Blackstone

    (Navy Personnel Research, Studies and Technology, 5720 Integrity Drive, Millington, TN 38054-5026, USA)

  • Michael McKee

    (College of Business, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA)

  • Elisabet Rutstrom

    (Department of Economics, College of Business, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816-1400, USA)

Abstract

Managers and employers use an array of rewards to attract and retain quality employees. An increasingly significant component of the overall compensation is the employee's benefits package. Flexible packages offer more choice but also incur higher decision costs. We conduct an experiment on choices over stylized benefits packages where discrete 'goods' have multiple attributes affecting the payoff function. We investigate the degree to which these complications affect choices. Eighty subjects play an individual-choice decision-cost game where they are implicitly asked to solve a complex programming problem. Our main results are that: (a) individual subjects respond to the relative tradeoff between the attributes, (b) some combinations of the attributes (apparently) entice subjects to search more and thus earn more, and (c) most subjects appear to adopt a heuristic that approximates the optimal solution. Further, subjects appear to value the right to make choices, as they rarely choose a fixed payoff option with a known payoff and low decision cost, even when the fixed payoff is 80% of the maximum possible under the decision-making task. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Van Boening & Tanja F. Blackstone & Michael McKee & Elisabet Rutstrom, 2006. "Benefit packages and individual behavior: choices over discrete goods with multiple attributes," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(6), pages 511-526.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:27:y:2006:i:6:p:511-526 DOI: 10.1002/mde.1285
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/mde.1285
    File Function: Link to full text; subscription required
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", pages 112-134.
    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. Anabela Botelho & Glenn W. Harrison & Marc A. Hirsch & Elisabet E. Rutstrom, 2001. "Bargaining behavior, demographics and nationality: a reconsideration of the experimental evidence," NIMA Working Papers 16, Núcleo de Investigação em Microeconomia Aplicada (NIMA), Universidade do Minho.
    4. Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-279, May.
    5. Keeney,Ralph L. & Raiffa,Howard, 1993. "Decisions with Multiple Objectives," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521438834, March.
    6. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    7. Irwin, Julie R, et al, 1998. "Payoff Dominance vs. Cognitive Transparency in Decision Making," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(2), pages 272-285, April.
    8. Jan Kmenta & James B. Ramsey, 1980. "Evaluation of Econometric Models," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kmen80-1, January.
    9. 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.
    10. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
    11. Vernon L. Smith, 1980. "Relevance of Laboratory Experiments to Testing Resource Allocation Theory," NBER Chapters,in: Evaluation of Econometric Models, pages 345-377 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Elliott, Steven R & McKee, Michael, 1995. "Collective Risk Decisions in the Presence of Many Risks," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 541-554.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:27:y:2006:i:6:p:511-526. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/7976 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.