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Decision-making Strategies and Performance among Seniors

Using paper and pencil experiments administered in senior centers, we examine decision-making performance in multi-attribute decision problems. We find a significant decline in performance with age due to reduced reliance on common heuristics among our oldest subjects. Subjects in their early sixties incorporate a wide array of heuristics, septuagenarians employ progressively fewer strategies, and subjects in their 80s make nearly random selections. However, we find that increasing the number of options in a decision problem increases the number of heuristics brought to the task. This challenges the choice overload view that people give up when confronted with too much choice.

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File URL: http://bus.lsu.edu/McMillin/Working_Papers/pap11_08.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Louisiana State University in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2011-08.

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Handle: RePEc:lsu:lsuwpp:2011-08
Contact details of provider: Postal: Baton Rouge, LA 70803-6306
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Web page: http://www.business.lsu.edu/economics
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  1. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
  2. Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 2011. "How individuals choose health insurance: An experimental analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 799-819, August.
  3. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe & Schupp Jürgen & Wagner Gert G., 2009. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants and Behavioral Consequences," Research Memorandum 039, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521438834 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Cole, Catherine A & Balasubramanian, Siva K, 1993. " Age Differences in Consumers' Search for Information: Public Policy Implications," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 157-69, June.
  6. W. Kip Viscusi & Joni Hersch, 2001. "Cigarette Smokers As Job Risk Takers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 269-280, May.
  7. Arne Risa Hole, 2006. "Small-sample properties of tests for heteroscedasticity in the conditional logit model," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 3(18), pages 1-14.
  8. Sudipta Sarangi & Tibor Besedes & Cary Deck & Mikhael Shor, . "Age Effects and Heuristics in Decision Making," Departmental Working Papers 2009-03, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  9. Betty E. Tanius & Stacey Wood & Yaniv Hanoch & Thomas Rice, 2009. "Aging and choice: Applications to Medicare Part D," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(1), pages 92-101, February.
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