Complexity and Bounded Rationality in Individual Decision Problems
I develop a model of endogenous bounded rationality due to search costs, arising implicitly from the problem's complexity. The decision maker is not required to know the entire structure of the problem when making choices but can think ahead, through costly search, to reveal more of it. However, the costs of search are not assumed exogenously; they are inferred from revealed preferences through her choices. Thus, bounded rationality and its extent emerge endogenously: as problems become simpler or as the benefits of deeper search become larger relative to its costs, the choices more closely resemble those of a rational agent. For a fixed decision problem, the costs of search will vary across agents. For a given decision maker, they will vary across problems. The model explains, therefore, why the disparity, between observed choices and those prescribed under rationality, varies across agents and problems. It also suggests, under reasonable assumptions, an identifying prediction: a relation between the benefits of deeper search and the depth of the search. As long as calibration of the search costs is possible, this can be tested on any agent-problem pair. My approach provides a common framework for depicting the underlying limitations that force departures from rationality in different and unrelated decision-making situations. Specifically, I show that it is consistent with violations of timing independence in temporal framing problems, dynamic inconsistency and diversification bias in sequential versus simultaneous choice problems, and with plausible but contrasting risk attitudes across small- and large-stakes gambles.
|Date of creation:|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: 01334 462420
Fax: 01334 462444
Web page: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/economics/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Binmore,K. & McCarthy,J. & Ponti,G. & ..., 1999.
"A backward induction experiment,"
34, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Enrica Carbone & John Hey, 2001.
"A Test of the Principle of Optimality,"
Theory and Decision,
Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 263-281, May.
- Chatterjee, K. & Sabourian, H., 1997.
"Multiperson Bargaining and Strategic Complexity,"
Cambridge Working Papers in Economics
9733, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
- Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2006. "Costly Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1043-1068, September.
- Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979.
"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
7656, David K. Levine.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
- Cubitt, Robin P & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1998. "Dynamic Choice and the Common Ratio Effect: An Experimental Investigation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1362-80, September.
- Matthew Rabin & Richard H. Thaler, 2001. "Anomalies: Risk Aversion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 219-232, Winter.
- Lee, Jihong & Sabourian, Hamid, 2007. "Coase theorem, complexity and transaction costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 214-235, July.
- Raj Chetty & Adam Szeidl, 2006.
"Consumption Commitments and Risk Preferences,"
NBER Working Papers
12467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001.
"Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests,"
University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series
qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
- Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869, August.
- Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4qz9k8vg, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching 0303002, EconWPA.
- Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Eliaz, K., 2001.
"Nash Equilibrium When Players Account for the Complexity of their Forecasts,"
2001-6, Tel Aviv.
- Eliaz, Kfir, 2003. "Nash equilibrium when players account for the complexity of their forecasts," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 286-310, August.
- Segal, Uzi, 1987.
"The Ellsberg Paradox and Risk Aversion: An Anticipated Utility Approach,"
International Economic Review,
Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 175-202, February.
- Uzi Segal, 1985. "The Ellsberg Paradox and Risk Aversion: An Anticipated Utility Approach," UCLA Economics Working Papers 362, UCLA Department of Economics.
- John Hey & Jinkwon Lee, 2005. "Do Subjects Separate (or Are They Sophisticated)?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 233-265, September.
- Karni, E. & Safra, Z., 1988.
"Behaviorally Consistent Optimal Stopping Rules,"
9-88, Tel Aviv.
- Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
- Read, Daniel & Loewenstein, George & Rabin, Matthew, 1999. "Choice Bracketing," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 171-97, December.
- Kalai, Ehud & Stanford, William, 1988.
"Finite Rationality and Interpersonal Complexity in Repeated Games,"
Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 397-410, March.
- Ehud Kalai & William Stanford, 1986. "Finite Rationality and Interpersonal Complexity in Repeated Games," Discussion Papers 679, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- John Hey, .
"Do People (Want to) Plan?,"
99/22, Department of Economics, University of York.
- Jehiel, Philippe, 2001. "Limited Foresight May Force Cooperation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 369-91, April.
- Douglas Gale & Hamid Sabourian, 2005. "Complexity and Competition," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(3), pages 739-769, 05.
- Goldman, Steven M, 1980. "Consistent Plans," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 533-37, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:san:wpecon:1314. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bram Boskamp)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.