Play it Again! A Natural Experiment on Definitivity Avoidance
52 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2019 Last revised: 29 Feb 2020
Date Written: February 26, 2020
In this paper we introduce Definitivity Avoidance, a behavioral bias that induces individuals to inefficiently shy away from choices that involve a final judgment. We model its effects and explore how the introduction of explicit exposure mechanisms can contribute to attenuate them. Using a unique natural experiment - the introduction of a technology assisted review system in professional tennis - we test the model predictions and confirm the relevance of this behavioral bias in a competitive setting. Possible instances of definitivity avoidance can be identified in multiple contexts such as debt roll-over decisions, inefficient asset allocations, court rulings, and child adoptions. The broad applicability of our model carries relevant policy implications as it provides a conceptual framework for the design of institutions to alleviate the welfare costs associated with definitivity avoidance.
Keywords: Prospect Theory, Natural experiment, Uncertainty, Decision Avoidance, Behavioral Economics
JEL Classification: D81, D91, C93
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation