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Reasoning and Institutions: Do Markets Facilitate Logical Reasoning in the Wason Selection Task?

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  • David V. Budescu
  • Boris Maciejovsky

Abstract

A vast literature shows that individuals frequently fail to identify the normative solutions in logical reasoning tasks. Much attention has been devoted to the study of these deviations at the individual level; less eVort was exerted to investigate whether institutional settings might facilitate and improve reasoning. In this paper we address this question by embedding theWason selection task in a competitive market: each of the four cards of the task was traded over multiple periods in anonymous continuous double auctions, and with real financial incentives. The results of two experiments involving 28 markets, with eight subjects each, indicate that errors in logical reasoning persist, and are present in a wide variety of trading variables, such as prices, volume and liquidity. The market’s behavior reflects the normatively correct outcome only when a substantial number of traders know the correct solution.

Suggested Citation

  • David V. Budescu & Boris Maciejovsky, "undated". "Reasoning and Institutions: Do Markets Facilitate Logical Reasoning in the Wason Selection Task?," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-04, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2003-04
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    File URL: ftp://papers.econ.mpg.de/esi/discussionpapers/2003-04.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Knez, Peter & Smith, Vernon L & Williams, Arlington W, 1985. "Individual Rationality, Market Rationality, and Value Estimation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 397-402, May.
    2. Hirshleifer, David & Luo, Guo Ying, 2001. "On the survival of overconfident traders in a competitive securities market," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 73-84, January.
    3. Slembeck, Tilman & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2004. "Do institutions promote rationality?: An experimental study of the three-door anomaly," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 337-350, July.
    4. De Long, J Bradford, et al, 1991. "The Survival of Noise Traders in Financial Markets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(1), pages 1-19, January.
    5. Russell, Thomas & Thaler, Richard, 1985. "The Relevance of Quasi Rationality in Competitive Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1071-1082, December.
    6. Friedman, Daniel, 1998. "Monty Hall's Three Doors: Construction and Deconstruction of a Choice Anomaly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 933-946, September.
    7. Jamal, Karim & Sunder, Shyam, 1996. "Bayesian equilibrium in double auctions populated by biased heuristic traders," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 273-291, November.
    8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Slembeck, Tilman & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2004. "Do institutions promote rationality?: An experimental study of the three-door anomaly," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 337-350, July.
    2. Fellner, Gerlinde & Guth, Werner & Maciejovsky, Boris, 2004. "Illusion of expertise in portfolio decisions: an experimental approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 355-376, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wason selection task; deductive reasoning; experimental markets; biases in reasoning; double auction;

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