Narrow Bracketing in Effort Choices

Abstract

Narrow bracketing has been established in choices over risky gambles, but not outside of it, even in natural situations such as the working environment. Many decisions people take, such as deciding whether to do an urgent, but not particularly important task right now, have low immediate costs – checking emails – but may have large costs later on, such as requiring one to work late when tired to make up the lost time. While sometimes people may take such decisions in full awareness of these implications – either because it is the ‘right/rational’ decision, or because they are present-biased – it may also be due to not thinking about these future implications. Narrow bracketing is a specific way of not thinking about these implications, and we test for it in a situation where preferences, properly thought through, cannot cause such mistakes, even when people are present-biased.

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Marc Kaufmann
Assistant Professor in Economics and Business

I do applied theory in behavioral economics, currently focusing on projection bias and narrow bracketing. On the applied side, I measure these biases experimentally. On the theory side, I explore how they affect work and study decisions, with a focus on implications for education and personnel management.