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Behavioral Economic Phenomena in Decision-Making for Others

Author

Listed:
  • Ifcher, John

    () (Santa Clara University)

  • Zarghamee, Homa

    () (Barnard College)

Abstract

We examine whether biases identified in the behavioral-economics literature apply in decision-making for others (DMfO). We conduct a laboratory experiment in which subjects make decision on behalf of themselves and others in eighteen tasks that measure the following biases: present-bias in time preferences, reflection effect in risk preferences, ambiguity aversion, decoy effect, anchoring bias, endowment effect, and identifiable-victim bias. In our experiment, DMfO is DMfO simpliciter: unincentivized decisions made by one individual on behalf of another - the individual making decisions faces no direct costs or benefits when engaging in DMfO (as they would in a principal-agent framework or with bequest motives), and DMfO is not framed as giving advice or guessing behavior. We identify the following self-other discrepancies: (i) willingness to pay is higher in DMfO than in decisions for oneself in tasks associated with the anchoring bias, endowment effect, and identifiable-victim bias; and (ii) the propensity to give uninterpretable responses is higher in DMfO than in decisions for oneself. We also find order effects, with DMfO more similar to decisions for oneself when it follows them. Lastly, in response to open-ended items soliciting self-reports of their DMfO, most subjects report having followed some version of the "Golden Rule" (e.g., deciding for others as they would for themselves) or having tried to maximize the other subject's payment or utility; very few subjects report motivations that can be construed as rivalrous.

Suggested Citation

  • Ifcher, John & Zarghamee, Homa, 2018. "Behavioral Economic Phenomena in Decision-Making for Others," IZA Discussion Papers 11946, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11946
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ola Andersson & Håkan J. Holm & Jean-Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2016. "Deciding for Others Reduces Loss Aversion," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(1), pages 29-36, January.
    2. Charness, Gary & Jackson, Matthew O., 2009. "The role of responsibility in strategic risk-taking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 241-247, March.
    3. Pollmann, Monique M.H. & Potters, Jan & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2014. "Risk taking by agents: The role of ex-ante and ex-post accountability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(3), pages 387-390.
    4. Tehila Kogut & Ruth Beyth-Marom, 2008. "Who helps more? How self-other discrepancies influence decisions in helping situations," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3(8), pages 595-606, December.
    5. Füllbrunn, Sascha & Luhan, Wolfgang J., 2015. "Am I my Peer's Keeper? Social Responsibility in Financial Decision Making," Ruhr Economic Papers 551, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Kristoffer Eriksen & Ola Kvaløy, 2010. "Do financial advisors exhibit myopic loss aversion?," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 24(2), pages 159-170, June.
    7. Pahlke, Julius & Strasser, Sebastian & Vieider, Ferdinand M., 2012. "Risk-taking for others under accountability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 102-105.
    8. Sujoy Chakravarty & Glenn W. Harrison & Ernan E. Haruvy & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2011. "Are You Risk Averse over Other People's Money?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 901-913, April.
    9. Angela C.M. de Oliveira & Sarah Jacobson, 2017. "(Im)patience by Proxy: Making Intertemporal Decisions for Others," Department of Economics Working Papers 2017-01, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Oct 2018.
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    11. Julius Pahlke & Sebastian Strasser & Ferdinand Vieider, 2015. "Responsibility effects in decision making under risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 125-146, October.
    12. Marina Agranov & Alberto Bisin & Andrew Schotter, 2014. "An experimental study of the impact of competition for Other People’s Money: the portfolio manager market," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(4), pages 564-585, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kling, Luisa & König-Kersting, Christian & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2019. "Investment Preferences and Risk Perception: Financial Agents versus Clients," Working Papers 0674, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    decisions making for others; laboratory experiments; social preferences; anchoring bias; endowment effect; identifiable-victim bias;

    JEL classification:

    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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