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Memory, Attention, and Choice

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  • Pedro Bordalo
  • Nicola Gennaioli
  • Andrei Shleifer

Abstract

We present a theory in which the choice set cues a consumer to recall a norm, and surprise relative to the norm shapes his attention and choice. We model memory based on Kahana (2012), where past experiences that are more recent or more similar to the cue are recalled and crowd out others. We model surprise relative to the norm using our salience model of attention and choice. The model predicts unstable and inconsistent behavior in new contexts, because these are evaluated relative to past norms. Under some conditions, repeated experience causes norms to adapt, inducing stable – sometimes rational – behavior across different contexts. We test some of the model’s predictions using an expanded data set on rental decisions of movers between US cities first analyzed by Simonsohn and Loewenstein (2006).

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2017. "Memory, Attention, and Choice," NBER Working Papers 23256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23256
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. John Y. Campbell, 2016. "Restoring Rational Choice: The Challenge of Consumer Financial Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 1-30, May.
    2. Raj Chetty, 2015. "Behavioral Economics and Public Policy: A Pragmatic Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 1-33, May.
    3. Inderst, Roman & Obradovits, Martin, 2016. "Excessive Competition for Headline Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 11284, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Christine L. Exley & Ragan Petrie, 2016. "The Impact of a Surprise Donation Ask," Harvard Business School Working Papers 16-101, Harvard Business School, revised Dec 2017.

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    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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