The Wisdom of Model Crowds

Lisheng He, Pantelis Pipergias Analytis*, Sudeep Bhatia


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A wide body of empirical research has revealed the descriptive shortcomings of expected value and expected utility models of risky decision making. In response, numerous models have been advanced to predict and explain people’s choices between gambles. Although some of these models have had a great impact in the behavioral, social, and management sciences, there is little consensus about which model offers the best account of choice behavior. In this paper, we conduct a large-scale comparison of 58 prominent models of risky choice, using 19 existing behavioral data sets involving more than 800 participants. This allows us to comprehensively evaluate models in terms of individual-level predictive performance across a range of different choice settings. We also identify the psychological mechanisms that lead to superior predictive performance and the properties of choice stimuli that favor certain types of models over others. Moreover, drawing on research on the wisdom of crowds, we argue that each of the existing models can be seen as an expert that provides unique forecasts in choice predictions. Consistent with this claim, we find that crowds of risky choice models perform better than individual models and thus provide a performance bound for assessing the historical accumulation of knowledge in our field. Our results suggest that each model captures unique aspects of the decision process and that existing risky choice models offer complementary rather than competing accounts of behavior. We discuss the implications of our results on theories of risky decision making and the quantitative modeling of choice behavior.
TidsskriftManagement Science
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)3175-3973
StatusUdgivet - maj 2022


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