Seminar 218, Psychology and Economics (Joint with Theory Seminar): What is complex?

Seminar | February 10 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 639 Evans Hall

 Ryan Oprea, UC Santa Barbara

 Department of Economics

Joint with Theory seminar

ABSTRACT: We measure the complexity of behavioral rules by paying experimental subjects to implement a series of choice algorithms and then eliciting their willingness-to-pay to avoid implementing them again in the future. The design allows us to test a body of hypotheses from the theoretical “automata” literature about the characteristics of rules that generate complexity costs. We find substantial aversion to complexity, linked to cognitive ability, and a number of regularities in the characteristics of rules that make them complex and costly for subjects. We also document palliative effects of experience and familiarity on the complexity of rules.

Paper link:

* Please note change in time/location due to joint event.