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Decision-making Procedures: A General Theory and Its Field Experimental Test

  • Aldashev, Gani
  • Kirchsteiger, Georg
  • Sebald, Alexander

It is a persistent finding in psychology and experimental economics that people's behavior is not only shaped by outcomes but also by decision-making procedures. In this paper we develop a general framework capable of modelling these procedural concerns. Within the context of psychological games we define procedures as mechanisms that influence the probabilities of reaching different endnodes. We show that for such procedural games a sequential psychological equilibrium always exists. Applying this approach within a principal-agent context we show that the way less attractive jobs are allocated is crucial for the effort exerted by agents. This prediction is tested in a field experiment, where some subjects had to type in data, whereas others had to verify the data inserted by the typists. The controllers' wage was 50% higher than that of the typists. In one treatment the less attractive typists' jobs were allocated directly, whereas in the other treatment the allocation was done randomly. As predicted, random allocation led to higher effort levels of the typists than direct appointment.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7365.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7365
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Pierpaolo Battigalli, . "Hierarchies of Conditional Beliefs and Interactive Epistemology in Dynamic Games," Working Papers 111, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. Gary E. Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 2000. "Fair Procedures. Evidence from Games Involving Lotteries," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 483.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  5. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  6. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2007. "Guilt in Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 170-176, May.
  7. Gary Charness, 2004. "Attribution and Reciprocity in an Experimental Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 665-688, July.
  8. Gary Charness & David I. Levine, 2007. "Intention and Stochastic Outcomes: An Experimental study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 1051-1072, 07.
  9. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2005. "Dynamic Psychological Games," Working Papers 287, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  10. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  11. Sebald, Alexander, 2010. "Attribution and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 339-352, January.
  12. Aumann, Robert & Brandenburger, Adam, 1995. "Epistemic Conditions for Nash Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(5), pages 1161-80, September.
  13. Ruffle, Bradley J., 1999. "Gift giving with emotions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 399-420, July.
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