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Task Transcending Satisficing - An Experimental Study


  • Werner Güth


  • Gerlinde Fellner
  • Ev Martin



The paper explores the applicability of bounded rationality theory. In particular, we investigate whether basic principles of aspiration formation and satisficing behavior are transferable between similar situations. Individuals are sequentially confronted with two risky investment tasks, a simple and a more complex one. Initially elicited state-contingent aspirations can be used to predict actual portfolio selection in both tasks. We explore whether individual characteristics of satisficing apply to both scenarios. Results indicate that stated aspirations frequently cannot be fulfilled. However, aspiration formation itself is highly transferable between tasks.

Suggested Citation

  • Werner Güth & Gerlinde Fellner & Ev Martin, 2006. "Task Transcending Satisficing - An Experimental Study," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-09, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2006-09

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brown, Stewart L., 1996. "Churning: Excessive trading in retail securities accounts," Financial Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 43-56.
    2. Guth, Werner & Krahnen, Jan P. & Rieck, Christian, 1997. "Financial markets with asymmetric information: A pilot study focusing on insider advantages," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 18(2-3), pages 235-257, April.
    3. Gerlinde Fellner & Werner Güth & Boris Maciejovsky, 2005. "Satisficing in Financial Decision Making A Theoretical and Experimental Attempt to Explore Bounded Rationality," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2005-23, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    4. Selten, Reinhard, 1998. "Features of experimentally observed bounded rationality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 413-436, May.
    5. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    6. Terrance Odean, 1999. "Do Investors Trade Too Much?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1279-1298, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Morone, Andrea & Sandri, Serena & Fiore, Annamaria, 2009. "On the absorbability of informational cascades in the laboratory," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 728-738, October.
    2. Werner Güth, 2006. "Satisficing in Portfolio Selection - Theoretical Aspects and Experimental Tests," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-16, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    3. Werner Güth & Gerlinde Fellner & Ev Martin, 2006. "Satisficing or Optimizing? - An Experimental Study," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-11, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.

    More about this item


    bounded rationality; aspirations; investment decisions;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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