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Contrast Effects in Sequential Decisions: Evidence from Speed Dating

Saurabh Bhargava () and Raymond Fisman

The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2014, vol. 96, issue 3, 444-457

Abstract: We provide an empirical test of contrast effects—a bias where a decision maker perceives information in contrast to what preceded it—in the quasi-experimental context of speed dating decisions. We document that prior partner attractiveness reduces the subsequent likelihood of an affirmative dating decision. This relationship is confined to recent interactions, consistent with a perceptual error, but not learning or the presence of a quota in affirmative responses. The contrast effect is driven almost entirely by male evaluators. Additional evidence documents the effect's linearity with respect to prior partner attractiveness, its amplification for partners of moderate attractiveness, and its partial attenuation with accumulated experience. © 2014 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Keywords: contrast effects; bias; speed dating (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D03 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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The Review of Economics and Statistics is currently edited by Pierre Azoulay, Olivier Coibion, Will Dobbie, Raymond Fisman, Benjamin R. Handel, Brian A. Jacob, Kareen Rozen, Xiaoxia Shi, Tavneet Suri and Yi Xu

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