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Rationally Inattentive Consumer: An Experiment

Andrea Civelli (), Cary Deck, Justin D. LeBlanc and Antonella Tutino ()

No 1813, Working Papers from Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Abstract: This paper presents a laboratory experiment that directly tests the theoretical predictions of consumption choices under rational inattention. Subjects are asked to select consumption when income is random. They can optimally decide to reduce uncertainty about income by acquiring signals about it. The informativeness of the signals directly relates to the cognitive effort required to process the information. We find that subjects? behavior is largely in line with the predictions of the theory: 1) Subjects optimally make stochastic consumption choices; 2) They respond to incentives and changes in the economic environment by varying their attention and consumption; 3) They respond asymmetrically to positive and negative shocks to income, with negative shocks triggering stronger and faster reactions than positive shocks.

Keywords: Rational Inattention; Experimental Evidence; Information Processing Capacity; Consumption (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D11 D8 E20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-11-19
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp, nep-mac and nep-upt
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DOI: 10.24149/wp1813

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