Decisions among defaults and the effect of the option to do nothing

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This paper examines the effect of default options on choice behavior in experience-based decisions. To this end, we designed the “radio-button” experimental paradigm, in which participants are asked to set default options that remain effective until they decide to change them, and the outcomes from active and inactive options are determined and presented to participants every two seconds. Comparison of behavior in six basic decision problems run under the “clicking” and “radio-button” experimental paradigms reveals an unexpected result. We find that, although the basic properties of decisions from experience are robust to the option to rely on self-set defaults, the introduction of defaults reduces the tendency to prefer the status quo. We dub this behavioral pattern as the “do something” effect.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomics Letters
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)790-793
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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