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Do Institutions Promote Rationality? An Experimental Study of the Three-Door Anomaly

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  • Tilman Slembeck
  • Jean-Robert Tyran

Abstract

The three-door problem is an astounding example of a systematic violation of a key rationality postulate. In this seemingly simple individual decision task, most people initially fail to correctly apply Bayes’ Law, and to make the payoff-maximizing choice. Previous experimental studies have shown that individual learning reduces the incidence of irrational choices somewhat, but is far from eliminating it. We experimentally study the roles of communication and competition as institutions to mitigate the choice anomaly. We show that the three-door anomaly can be entirely eliminated by these institutions.

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  • Tilman Slembeck & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2002. "Do Institutions Promote Rationality? An Experimental Study of the Three-Door Anomaly," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-21, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2002:2002-21
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    Cited by:

    1. Schläpfer, Felix & Schmitt, Marcel & Roschewitz, Anna, 2008. "Competitive politics, simplified heuristics, and preferences for public goods," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 574-589, April.
    2. Morton, Rebecca B. & Piovesan, Marco & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2019. "The dark side of the vote: Biased voters, social information, and information aggregation through majority voting," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 461-481.
    3. Annarita Colasante & Aurora García-Gallego & Andrea Morone & Tiziana Temerario, 2017. "The utopia of cooperation: does intra-group competition drive out free riding?," Working Papers 2017/08, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    4. Francesco Feri & Bernd Irlenbusch & Matthias Sutter, 2010. "Efficiency Gains from Team-Based Coordination—Large-Scale Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1892-1912, September.
    5. Boris Maciejovsky & Matthias Sutter & David V. Budescu & Patrick Bernau, 2013. "Teams Make You Smarter: How Exposure to Teams Improves Individual Decisions in Probability and Reasoning Tasks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(6), pages 1255-1270, June.
    6. Andrea Morone & Annamaria Fiore, 2007. "Monty Hall's Three Doors for Dummies," SERIES 0012, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Feb 2007.
    7. Catherine L. Kling & Daniel J. Phaneuf & Jinhua Zhao, 2012. "From Exxon to BP: Has Some Number Become Better Than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
    8. Engelmann, Dirk & Strobel, Martin, 2012. "Deconstruction and reconstruction of an anomaly," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 678-689.
    9. David V. Budescu & Boris Maciejovsky, 2005. "The Effect of Payoff Feedback and Information Pooling on Reasoning Errors: Evidence from Experimental Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(12), pages 1829-1843, December.
    10. David V. Budescu & Boris Maciejovsky, 2004. "The Effect of Monetary Feedback and Information Spillovers on Cognitive Errors: Evidence from Competitive Markets," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-32, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    11. Rocco Caferra & Alessia Casamassima & Alessandro Cascavilla & Andrea Morone & Paola Tiranzoni, 2020. "Three doors anomaly, "should I stay or should I go": an artefactual field experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00700, The Field Experiments Website.
    12. David V. Budescu & Boris Maciejovsky, "undated". "Reasoning and Institutions: Do Markets Facilitate Logical Reasoning in the Wason Selection Task?," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-04, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    13. Patt, Anthony G. & Bowles, Hannah Riley & Cash, David W., 2006. "Mechanisms for Enhancing the Credibility of an Adviser: Prepayment and Aligned Incentives," Working Paper Series rwp06-010, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    14. Sebastian Fehrler & Baiba Renerte & Irenaeus Wolff, 2020. "Beliefs about Others: A Striking Example of Information Neglect," TWI Research Paper Series 118, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    15. Kim Kaivanto & Eike B. Kroll & Michael Zabinski, 2014. "Bias-Trigger Manipulation and Task-Form Understanding in Monty Hall," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(1), pages 89-98.
    16. Miller, Joshua Benjamin & Sanjurjo, Adam, 2018. "A Bridge from Monty Hall to the Hot Hand: Restricted Choice, Selection Bias, and Empirical Practice," OSF Preprints dmgtp, Center for Open Science.
    17. Schlapfer, Felix & Schmitt, Marcel, 2007. "Anchors, endorsements, and preferences: A field experiment," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 229-243, September.
    18. Brain Kluger & Daniel Friedman, 2006. "Financial Engineering and Rationality: Experimental Evidence Based on the Monty Hall Problem," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 007, University of Siena.
    19. Ernst Fehr & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2005. "Individual Irrationality and Aggregate Outcomes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 43-66, Fall.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bayes’ Law; learning; competition; communication; individual decision making; group decision making.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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