Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1443980
 
 

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Irrational Beliefs, Rational Actions: Understanding Subjects' Behavior in a Laboratory Experiment


Mathew D. McCubbins


Duke University School of Law

Nicholas Weller


University of Southern California - Department of Political Science; University of Southern California - School of International Relations

August 4, 2009


Abstract:     
Rational choice models are commonly used in political science. However, many experimental results find humans do not behave as we would predict from simple rational choice models. In this paper we report on the result of experiments in which subjects both play a standard trust game and make predictions about other players in an experiment, thereby revealing information about how they expect others to behave in the experiment. We find that conditional on their beliefs, subjects play quite rationally in these games. The results suggest we need to understand individuals’ beliefs and knowledge when we model behavior in experimental and empirical settings.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30


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Date posted: August 7, 2009 ; Last revised: September 9, 2009

Suggested Citation

McCubbins, Mathew D. and Weller, Nicholas, Irrational Beliefs, Rational Actions: Understanding Subjects' Behavior in a Laboratory Experiment (August 4, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1443980 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1443980

Contact Information

Mathew D. McCubbins
Duke University School of Law ( email )
210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Nicholas Weller (Contact Author)
University of Southern California - Department of Political Science ( email )
Von KleinSmid Center, 327
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
University of Southern California - School of International Relations
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
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