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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Essays in Economic Decision Making
by Tanner, Noam, Ph.D., Yale University, 2015, 238; 3663658
Abstract (Summary)

My dissertation studies multiple settings of economic decision making- decision making in a group, decision making by an uninformed principal, and the decision making properties of agents with differing degrees of cognitive reflection.

In the first essay, I study a problem of voting with information acquisition. I study information control in settings where such voters acquire information, but may lack control over whether it is revealed to other voters. Therefore, voters must balance their ability to inform themselves with their ability to reveal information and hence influence the actions of others. I examine and compare two different settings: private information acquisition and public information acquisition. Public acquisition improves upon private acquisition in two notable aspects. First, public acquisition eliminates low-payoff equilibria under private acquisition. Second, payoffs under public acquisition may provide all players with a higher payoff than any equilibrium payoff under private acquisition. Finally, I provide conditions when a unanimous voting rule outperforms majority rule.

In the second essay, I study a principal-agent relationship without monetary transfers. The principal is uncertain of the agent's preferences. Before observing the state of nature, agents much choose from a menu of delegation sets, where each delegation set is a set of actions. The defining property of a delegation set is that once an agent selects a delegation set he may only take actions within that set. I show that a pooling menu, a menu consisting of a single, interval (convex) delegation set, is optimal for any distribution over agent preferences. The proof used in this paper provides new intuition for the optimality of interval delegation: the payoff distributions generated by non-convex menus are mean-preserving spreads of those generated by convex menus I also provide comparative statics of the optimal contract.

In the final essay, I examine the relationship between cognitive reflection and time preferences. Using survey data, I find a positive relationship between cognitive reflection scores and consistency with different models of intertemporal choice.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Samuelson, Larry
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Economics, Economic theory
Keywords: Behavioral Economics, Delegation, Information Acquistion, Voting
Publication Number: 3663658
ISBN: 978-1-321-96073-0
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