Choice, deferral, and consistency

Miguel Costa-Gomes, Carlos Cueva, Georgios Gerasimou, Matúš Tejiščák

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We report on two novel choice experiments with real goods where subjects in one treatment are forced to choose, as is the norm in economic experiments, while in the other they are not but can instead incur a small cost to defer choice. Using a variety of measures, we find that the active choices (i.e., those that exclude the deferral outside option) of subjects in the nonforced‐choice treatment are generally more consistent. We also find that the combined deferral and active‐choice behavior of subjects in that treatment is explained better by a model of dominant choice with incomplete preferences than it is by rational choice. Our results suggest that nonforced‐choice experiments and models can be helpful in separating people's rational, hesitant/not‐yet‐rational and genuinely irrational behavior, and can potentially offer important new insights in revealed preference analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1318
Number of pages22
JournalQuantitative Economics
Issue number3
Early online date1 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • choice deferral
  • active choices
  • choice consistency
  • revealed preferences
  • decision difficulty
  • experiment


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