The Weakest Link - a Field Experiment in Rational Decision Making

University of Groningen, Mimeo Working Paper

33 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2002

See all articles by Marco A. Haan

Marco A. Haan

University of Groningen

Bart Los

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics

Yohanes E. Riyanto

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Division of Economics

Martin van Geest

Economie

Date Written: February 5, 2002

Abstract

We analyze the BBC TV game show 'The Weakest Link', using data from 77 episodes, covering 13,380 questions. We focus on the banking decision, where a contestant chooses to secure an amount of money for the eventual winner, or to risk it on a general knowledge question. In the latter case, should he answer correctly, the amount at stake increases exponentially. We show that banking decisions are not rational: a crude rule of thumb performs substantially better than the contestants' strategies. Yet, at least to some extent, contestants do take into account their own ability and the fact that questions are progressively more difficult.

Keywords: Experimental Economics, TV Game Shows, Bounded Rationality

JEL Classification: C93

Suggested Citation

Haan, Marco A. and Los, Bart and Riyanto, Yohanes E. and van Geest, Martin, The Weakest Link - a Field Experiment in Rational Decision Making (February 5, 2002). University of Groningen, Mimeo Working Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=303163 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.303163

Marco A. Haan (Contact Author)

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AV Groningen
Netherlands
+31 50 363 7327 (Phone)
+31 50 363 7227 (Fax)

Bart Los

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AV Groningen
Netherlands
+31 (0)50 3637317 (Phone)

Yohanes E. Riyanto

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Division of Economics ( email )

HSS 04-53, 14 Nanyang Drive
Singapore, 639798
Singapore

Martin Van Geest

Economie ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AV Groningen
Netherlands

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