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Bounding the Impact of Market Experience on Rationality: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Imperfect Compliance

  • List, John

    ()

    (U of Chicago)

  • Millimet, Daniel

    ()

    (SMU)

While laboratory experiments documenting some level of irrational behavior are now commonplace, explorations into whether such irrationalities exist in the field are rare. Equally as scarce are studies that explore the influence of market experience on the level and evolution of irrationality. Using field data gathered from more than 380 subjects of age 6-18, we investigate these issues using Generalized Axiom of Revealed Preference experiments. To circumvent the endogeneity of market experience, we exogenously induce such experience through the design of a field experiment. Compliance with the experiment was not perfect, however. We are, nevertheless, able to bound the average treatment effect using the sharp bounds derived in Balke and Pearl [Journal of the American Economic Association, 1997, 92, 1171-1776]. Empirical results indicate that deviations from rational behavior exist in the field, but that market experience is a significant contributor to the development of rational choice.Length: 20 pages

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Paper provided by Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 0505.

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Handle: RePEc:smu:ecowpa:0505
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, P.O. Box 750496, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275-0496
Phone: 214-768-2715
Fax: 214-768-1821
Web page: http://www.smu.edu/economics

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  1. Slonim, Robert L., 1999. "Learning rules of thumb or learning more rational rules," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 217-236, February.
  2. William T. Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Timothy R. Berry, 2001. "GARP for Kids: On the Development of Rational Choice Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1539-1545, December.
  3. MacCrimmon, K R & Toda, M, 1969. "The Experimental Determination of Indifference Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(108), pages 433-51, October.
  4. John A. List & Daniel Millimet, 2004. "The Market: Catalyst for Rationality and Filter of Irrationality," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000023, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  6. Mattei, Aurelio, 2000. "Full-scale real tests of consumer behavior using experimental data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 487-497, December.
  7. Michael Lechner, 1999. "Nonparametric bounds on employment and income effects of continuous vocational training in East Germany," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(1), pages 1-28.
  8. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  9. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1962. "On Flexibility of Future Preference," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 150, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Sandra J. Peart, 2000. "Irrationality and intertemporal choice in early neoclassical thought," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(1), pages 175-189, February.
  11. J.D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens & D.B. Rubin, 1993. "Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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