Essays on Attention in Individual Decision Making

Belton, Cameron (2017) Essays on Attention in Individual Decision Making. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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A growing economic and psychology literature considers how changes in the attention given to situations and goods can affect consumers’ evaluations of these things. This thesis employs an experimental methodology to investigate the role of attention in explaining a number of irregularities in individual consumer-related decision making that have been established in the behavioural and experimental economic literature: choice effects and order effects.
Chapter One presents a novel experimental design to test the different role of choice effects on the valuation of consumable goods when participants assume the roles of buyers and sellers, measuring the effect of choice on the well-known willingness-to-accept- willingness-to-pay disparity. Chapter Two utilises an experimental design to disentangle a number of potential attention-based order effects to explain surprising findings of order effects in Chapter One, where valuations for goods in earlier tasks were significantly higher than for goods valued in later tasks. Chapter Three presents another novel experimental design to capture the effect of choice on willingness-to-donate to charitable causes. Chapter Four takes this experimental design, and measures the effect of choice on consumable goods.
A number of interesting results are found within these papers. Evidence of the positive effect of choice is found in Chapters One, Three and Four, consistent with theories of attention. Chapter Two finds evidence that participants give reduced attention to both the general experimental design of later tasks and the specific goods they value in these later tasks. This provides a novel explanation of the causes of order effects. Together, the papers of this thesis show that attention can explain how individuals evaluate goods differently in different consumer-related decision making situations, and that carefully considered experimental methodology can be used to better isolate these effects in laboratory settings.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: Bruce Beckett
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2018 14:51
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2018 14:51


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