Are experienced people affected by a pre-set default option—Results from a field experiment

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The objective of the present paper is to investigate the robustness of the well-known result that pre-set default options determine people’s choices. We do so by conducting a field experiment among environmental economists attending a large international conference on environmental economics.

The participants were, at the time of registration, randomly allocated to different treatments related to carbon offsetting. What differs from earlier default studies is that our subjects have good knowledge about the good at hand. We investigate whether the choices of these experienced individuals are affected by a pre-set default option, and we also study the effect of a treatment with no pre-set default option. Our results, together with previous findings, indicate that the effect of a default option attenuates with experience.



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Publication | 25 February 2012