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The weakest link : a field experiment in rational decision making

  • Haan, Marco

    (Groningen University)

We analyze the BBC TV game show “The Weakest Link”, using data from 77 episodes, covering 13,380 questions. We focus on the banking decision, where a contestant chooses to secure an amount of money for the eventual winner, or to risk it on a general knowledge question. In the latter case, should he answer correctly, the amount at stake increases exponentially. We show that banking decisions are not rational: a crude rule of thumb performs substantially better than the contestants’ strategies. Yet, at least to some extent, contestants do take into account their own ability and the fact that questions are progressively more difficult.

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File URL: http://irs.ub.rug.nl/ppn/239686624
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Paper provided by University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management) in its series Research Report with number 02F20.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:rugsom:02f20
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  1. Marco Haan & Peter Kooreman, 2002. "Free riding and the provision of candy bars," Natural Field Experiments 00264, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Bennett, Randall W. & Hickman, Kent A., 1993. "Rationality and the 'price is right'," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 99-105, May.
  3. Haan, M. & Kooreman, P., 2000. "Free riding and the provision of candy bars," Research Report 00F48, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
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