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Preference for randomization: Empirical and experimental evidence

  • Dwenger, Nadja
  • Kübler, Dorothea
  • Weizsäcker, Georg

We investigate violations of consequentialism in the form of the stochastic dominance property. The property is shared by many theories of choice and implies that the decision-maker prefers receiving the best outcome for sure over all lotteries that involve multiple outcomes. We run experiments to demonstrate that dominated randomization can be attractive. In treatments where decision-makers are asked to submit multiple decisions without knowing which one is relevant, many participants submit contradictory sets of decisions and thereby induce a dominated lottery between outcomes. Explicit choice of non-consequentialist randomization is observed in a separate treatment. A possible reason for the e ect is the desire to avoid having to make the decision. A large data set on (high-stake) university applications in Germany shows patterns that are consistent with a preference for randomization.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior with number SP II 2013-201.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmbh:spii2013201
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  1. Elliott Peranson & Alvin E. Roth, 1999. "The Redesign of the Matching Market for American Physicians: Some Engineering Aspects of Economic Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 748-780, September.
  2. Rubinstein, Ariel, 2002. "Irrational diversification in multiple decision problems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1369-1378, September.
  3. Camerer, Colin F & Ho, Teck-Hua, 1994. "Violations of the Betweenness Axiom and Nonlinearity in Probability," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 167-96, March.
  4. Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "Deferred Acceptance Algorithms: History, Theory, Practice, and Open Questions," NBER Working Papers 13225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Machina, Mark J, 1989. "Dynamic Consistency and Non-expected Utility Models of Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1622-68, December.
  6. Sebastian Braun & Nadja Dwenger, 2008. "Success in the University Admission Process in Germany: Regional Provenance Matters," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 789, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  7. Berg, Joyce E. & Dickhaut, John W. & Rietz, Thomas A., 2010. "Preference reversals: The impact of truth-revealing monetary incentives," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 443-468, March.
  8. Braun, Sebastian & Dwenger, Nadja & Kübler, Dorothea, 2007. "Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off: An Empirical Study of Centralised University Admissions in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3261, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Gary E. Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 2000. "Fair Procedures. Evidence from Games Involving Lotteries," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 483.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  10. Michal Krawczyk & Fabrice Le Lec, 2010. "‘Give me a chance!’ An experiment in social decision under risk," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 500-511, December.
  11. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-24, December.
  12. Sebastian Braun & Nadja Dwenger & Dorothea Kübler, 2007. "Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 759, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  13. Alvin E. Roth & Uriel G. Rothblum, 1999. "Truncation Strategies in Matching Markets--In Search of Advice for Participants," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 21-44, January.
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