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The intrinsic value of choice: The propensity to under-delegate in the face of potential gains and losses

Bobadilla-Suarez, S; Sunstein, CR; Sharot, T; (2017) The intrinsic value of choice: The propensity to under-delegate in the face of potential gains and losses. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty , 54 (3) pp. 187-202. 10.1007/s11166-017-9259-x. Green open access

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Abstract

Human beings are often faced with a pervasive problem: whether to make their own decision or to delegate the decision task to someone else. Here, we test whether people are inclined to forgo monetary rewards in order to retain agency when faced with choices that could lead to losses and gains. In a simple choice task, we show that participants choose to pay in order to control their own payoff more than they should if they were to maximize monetary rewards and minimize monetary losses. This tendency cannot be explained by participants’ overconfidence in their own ability, as their perceived ability was elicited and accounted for. Nor can the results be explained by lack of information. Rather, the results seem to reflect an intrinsic value for choice, which emerges in the domain of both gains and of losses. Moreover, our data indicate that participants are aware that they are making suboptimal choices in the normative sense, but do so anyway, presumably for psychological gains.

Type: Article
Title: The intrinsic value of choice: The propensity to under-delegate in the face of potential gains and losses
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11166-017-9259-x
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11166-017-9259-x
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2017. This article is an open access publication
Keywords: Social Sciences, Business, Finance, Economics, Business & Economics, Control premium, Delegation, Agency, Decision rights, Gains, Losses, Other Decision-Making, Cognitive-Dissonance, Reward, Risk, Reinforcement, Alternatives, Preference, Attitude, Outcomes, Models
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10025827
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