IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Aspiration formation and satisficing in isolated and competitive search

  • Werner Güth


  • Ev Martin


  • Torsten Weiland


We experimentally explore individual and interactive decision making in a sequential search task and test whether generally accepted principles of bounded rationality (aspiration formation, satisficing, and aspiration adjustment) adequately explain the observed search behavior. Subjects can, at a cost, employ screening and selection methods facilitating their search and revealing their aspirations. The majority of subjects seems to follow the single threshold heuristic after extensive experimentation. Contrary to popular theories of sequential search, aspiration levels are set below the maximum value of all previously inspected alternatives. In a competitive search subjects tend to experiment less before engaging in satisficing and generally state lower aspirations. Finally, systematic satisficing seems to significantly enhance payoffs.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group in its series Papers on Strategic Interaction with number 2006-26.

in new window

Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2006-26
Contact details of provider: Postal: Kahlaische Strasse 10, D-07745 Jena
Phone: +49-3641-68 65
Fax: +49-3641-68 69 90
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Todd, Peter M. & Rieskamp, Jörg & Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2008. "Social Heuristics," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  2. Massimo Egidi, 1995. "Routines, Hierarchies of Problems, Procedural Behaviour: Some Evidence fom Experiments," CEEL Working Papers 9503, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  3. Seale, Darryl A. & Rapoport, Amnon, 1997. "Sequential Decision Making with Relative Ranks: An Experimental Investigation of the "Secretary Problem">," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 221-236, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Tietz, Reinhard, 1992. "Semi-normative theories based on bounded rationality," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 297-314, June.
  6. Rami Zwick & Amnon Rapoport & Alison King Chung Lo & A. V. Muthukrishnan, 2001. "Consumer Search: Not Enough Or Too Much?," Experimental 0110002, EconWPA.
  7. Thomas Dudey & Peter Todd, 2001. "Making Good Decisions with Minimal Information: Simultaneous and Sequential Choice," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 195-215, May.
  8. Smith, Vernon L, 1985. "Experimental Economics: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 264-72, March.
  9. Kogut, Carl A., 1990. "Consumer search behavior and sunk costs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 381-392, December.
  10. Selten, Reinhard, 1998. "Features of experimentally observed bounded rationality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 413-436, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2006-26. 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: (Karin Richter)

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Karin Richter to update the entry or send us the correct address

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.