NBER Working Papers by Daniel J. Martin

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April 2015Is No News (Perceived as) Bad News? An Experimental Investigation of Information Disclosure
with Ginger Zhe Jin, Michael Luca: w21099
This paper uses laboratory experiments to directly test a central prediction of disclosure theory: that market forces can lead businesses to voluntarily provide information about the quality of their products. This theoretical prediction is based on unraveling arguments, which require that consumers hold correct beliefs about non-disclosed information. Instead, we find that receivers are insufficiently skeptical about non-disclosed information, and as a consequence, senders do not always disclose their private information. However, when subjects are informed about non-disclosed information after each round, behavior slowly converges to full unraveling. This convergence appears to be driven by an asymmetric response in receiver actions after learning that they were profitably deceived. Desp...
April 2012Defaults and Attention: The Drop Out Effect
with Andrew Caplin: w17988
When choice options are complex, policy makers may seek to reduce decision making errors by making a high quality option the default. We show that this positive effect is at risk because such a policy creates incentives for decision makers to "drop out" by paying no attention to the decision and accepting the default sight unseen. Using decision time as a proxy for attention, we confirm the importance of this effect in an experimental setting. A key challenge for policy makers is to measure, and if possible mitigate, such drop out behavior in the field.
June 2011A Testable Theory of Imperfect Perception
with Andrew Caplin: w17163
We introduce a rational choice theory that allows for many forms of imperfect perception, including failures of memory, selective attention, and adherence to simplifying rules of thumb. Despite its generality, the theory has strong, simple, and intuitive implications for standard choice data and for more enriched choice data. The central assumption is rational expectations: decision makers understand the relationship between their perceptions, however limited they may be, and the (stochastic) consequences of their available choices. Our theory separately identifies two distinct "framing" effects: standard effects involving the layout of the prizes (e.g. order in a list) and novel effects relating to the information content of the environment (e.g. how likely is the first in the list to be ...

Caplin, Andrew, and Daniel Martin (2014), “A Testable Theory of Imperfect Perception,” The Economic Journal, forthcoming. citation courtesy of

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