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An Experimental Investigation into Queueing Behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Anna Conte

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, and WBS, University of Westminster, EQM Department)

  • Marco Scarsini

    (Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS, Roma)

  • Oktay Sürücü

    (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)

Abstract

We conduct an experiment meant to explore the factors driving customers' decisions in a queueing system. Under different time allowance conditions, the experimental subjects are asked to join one of two queues that differ in their length, server speed, and entry fee. We investigate some aspects of a queue on which subjects base their decision and what is the effect of time pressure on their decision criteria. We find that only a proportion of subjects behave rationally and use the relevant information efficiently. The size of this proportion increases when time limitation is relaxed. The rest of the subjects seem to adopt a rule of thumb that ignores the information on server speed and follows the shorter queue. Consequently, these subjects use less time than rational types when making their decisions. Furthermore, time pressure harms decision performance since the presence of time limitation stresses a great deal of subjects and causes them to use time inefficiently.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Conte & Marco Scarsini & Oktay Sürücü, 2014. "An Experimental Investigation into Queueing Behavior," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-030, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2014-030
    as

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    File URL: http://www2.wiwi.uni-jena.de/Papers/jerp2014/wp_2014_030.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    2. Rapoport, Amnon & Stein, William E. & Parco, James E. & Seale, Darryl A., 2004. "Equilibrium play in single-server queues with endogenously determined arrival times," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 67-91, September.
    3. Anna Conte & John D. Hey, 2018. "Assessing multiple prior models of behaviour under ambiguity," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Experiments in Economics Decision Making and Markets, chapter 7, pages 169-188, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387, May.
    5. Darryl Seale & James Parco & William Stein & Amnon Rapoport, 2005. "Joining a Queue or Staying Out: Effects of Information Structure and Service Time on Arrival and Staying Out Decisions," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(2), pages 117-144, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Queues with entry fee; join the shortest queue; laboratory experiments; decision time;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • L00 - Industrial Organization - - General - - - General
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions

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