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Aspiration formation and satisficing in isolated and competitive search

Author

Listed:
  • Werner Güth

    ()

  • Ev Martin

    ()

  • Torsten Weiland

    ()

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Werner Güth & Ev Martin & Torsten Weiland, 2006. "Aspiration formation and satisficing in isolated and competitive search," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-26, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2006-26
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    File URL: ftp://papers.econ.mpg.de/esi/discussionpapers/2006-26.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Smith, Vernon L, 1985. "Experimental Economics: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 264-272, March.
    2. Todd, Peter M. & Rieskamp, Jörg & Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2008. "Social Heuristics," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    3. Rami Zwick & Amnon Rapoport & Alison King Chung Lo & A. V. Muthukrishnan, 2001. "Consumer Search: Not Enough Or Too Much?," Experimental 0110002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. 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.
    5. Kogut, Carl A., 1990. "Consumer search behavior and sunk costs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 381-392, December.
    6. 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.
    7. Tietz, Reinhard, 1992. "Semi-normative theories based on bounded rationality," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 297-314, June.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Selten, Reinhard, 1998. "Features of experimentally observed bounded rationality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 413-436, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    sequential search; secretary problem; optimal stopping; bounded rationality;

    JEL classification:

    • C44 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Operations Research; Statistical Decision Theory
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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