Economics at your fingertips  

Flipping a coin: Evidence from university applications

Nadja Dwenger, Dorothea Kübler () and Georg Weizsäcker

Journal of Public Economics, 2018, vol. 167, issue C, 240-250

Abstract: We empirically investigate the possibility that a decision maker prefers to avoid making a decision and instead delegates it to an external device, e.g., a coin flip. A large data set from the centralized clearinghouse for university admissions in Germany shows a choice pattern of applicants that is consistent with coin flipping and that entails substantial consequences for the matching outcome. In a series of experiments capturing the relevant features of university choice, participants often choose lotteries between allocations rather than certain allocations. This contradicts most theories of choice such as expected utility. A survey among university applicants links their choices to the experiments and confirms that the choice of random allocations is intentional

Keywords: Preference for randomization; Matching markets; Individual decision making; University admissions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 D01 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Public Economics is currently edited by R. Boadway and J. Poterba

More articles in Journal of Public Economics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().

Page updated 2019-11-30
Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:167:y:2018:i:c:p:240-250