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Random Utility and Limited Consideration

Victor Aguiar (), Maria Jose Boccardi Chalela (), Nail Kashaev and Jeongbin Kim

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Abstract: The random utility model (RUM, McFadden and Richter, 1990) has been the standard tool to describe the behavior of a population of decision makers. RUM assumes that decision makers behave as if they maximize a rational preference over a choice set. This assumption may fail when consideration of all alternatives is costly. We provide a theoretical and statistical framework that unifies well-known models of random (limited) consideration and generalizes them to allow for preference heterogeneity. We apply this methodology in a novel stochastic choice dataset that we collected in a large-scale online experiment. Our dataset is unique since it exhibits both choice set and (attention) frame variation. We run a statistical survival race between competing models of random consideration and RUM. We find that RUM cannot explain the population behavior. In contrast, we cannot reject the hypothesis that decision makers behave according to the logit attention model (Brade and Rehbeck, 2016).

Date: 2018-12, Revised 2022-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dcm, nep-exp, nep-neu and nep-upt
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