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Igniting deliberation in high stake decisions: a field study


Hefti, Andreas M; Shen, Peiyao; Li, King King (2021). Igniting deliberation in high stake decisions: a field study. Working paper series / Department of Economics 378, University of Zurich.

Abstract

We conduct a large scale randomized field experiment to study whether providing recipients – 42,454 Chinese households in a rural area – with information on the costs of a real decision they make can help to improve the quality of their choices. The decisions are of high financial impact, as the objects of deliberation – air conditioners – have upfront prices exceeding the average monthly salary of a household. Besides providing nominal cost information, we conduct two additional treatments, where we either present the same information by making the real opportunity costs salient, or by administering the information via a quiz. The former aims at facilitating the comparison of effective costs, while the latter aims at enhancing attention and cognitive involvement. We find that providing cost information substantially affects the choices made, and reduces the decision mistakes, in particular in the two additional treatments.

Abstract

We conduct a large scale randomized field experiment to study whether providing recipients – 42,454 Chinese households in a rural area – with information on the costs of a real decision they make can help to improve the quality of their choices. The decisions are of high financial impact, as the objects of deliberation – air conditioners – have upfront prices exceeding the average monthly salary of a household. Besides providing nominal cost information, we conduct two additional treatments, where we either present the same information by making the real opportunity costs salient, or by administering the information via a quiz. The former aims at facilitating the comparison of effective costs, while the latter aims at enhancing attention and cognitive involvement. We find that providing cost information substantially affects the choices made, and reduces the decision mistakes, in particular in the two additional treatments.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:D12, D83, L68, Q41, Q48
Uncontrolled Keywords:Information provision, opportunity costs, decision mistakes, involvement, energy efficiency
Language:English
Date:March 2021
Deposited On:04 Mar 2021 10:10
Last Modified:04 Mar 2021 10:11
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:48
ISSN:1664-705X
OA Status:Green
Official URL:https://www.econ.uzh.ch/en/research/workingpapers.html?paper-id=1060

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