Partitioning Sorted Sets: Overcoming Choice Overload While Maintaining Decision Quality

59 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2017

See all articles by Benedict G. C. Dellaert

Benedict G. C. Dellaert

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE); Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Tom Baker

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Eric J. Johnson

Columbia Business School - Marketing

Date Written: November 22, 2017

Abstract

We investigate the joint use of partitioning and sorting as a choice architecture to overcome consumer choice overload in large product sets. Partitioning first presents a small initial set of alternatives with the option to click through to see the remaining alternatives. Sorting presents alternatives in order of attractiveness based on a user model that is helpful to the decision-maker. We propose that Sets with Partitioning and Sorting (SPSs) improve consumers’ choice outcomes by increasing their focus on the most attractive alternatives and their use of more compensatory decisions. Results from two controlled survey-based experiments and a field study in the domain of health insurance support this positive impact of SPSs when sorting quality is high. However, there is also a potential harmful effect of partitioning when sorting quality is low. We discuss implications of our findings and propose a practical approach to select partitioning size depending on sorting quality.

Keywords: Choice architecture, Partitioning, Sorting, Decision Making, Product Recommendations

Suggested Citation

Dellaert, Benedict G. C. and Baker, Tom and Johnson, Eric J., Partitioning Sorted Sets: Overcoming Choice Overload While Maintaining Decision Quality (November 22, 2017). Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 18-2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3082254 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3082254

Benedict G. C. Dellaert (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Tom Baker

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-746-2185 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.upenn.edu/cf/faculty/thbaker/

Eric J. Johnson

Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

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