The Allocation of Time in Decision-Making

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The Allocation of Time in Decision-Making

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Title: The Allocation of Time in Decision-Making
Author: Laibson, David I.; Schuldt, Jonathan P.; Chabris, Christopher F; Morris, Carrie L.; Taubinsky, Dmitry

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Citation: Chabris, Christopher F., David Laibson, Carrie L. Morris, Jonathan P. Schuldt, and Dmitry Taubinsky. 2009. The allocation of time in decision-making. Journal of the European Economic Association 7(2-3): 628-637.
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Abstract: We study the allocation of time across decision problems. If a decision-maker (1) has noisy estimates of value, (2) improves those estimates the longer he or she analyzes a choice problem, and (3) allocates time optimally, then the decision-maker should spend less time choosing when the difference in value between two options is relatively large. To test this prediction we ask subjects to make 27 binary incentive-compatible intertemporal choices, and measure response time for each decision. Our time allocation model explains 54% of the variance in average decision time. These results support the view that decisionmaking is a cognitively costly activity that uses time as an input allocated according to cost-benefit principles.
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