Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Choice Under Uncertainty and Ambiguity: An Empirical Inquiry of a Behavioral Economic Experiment Applied to COVID-19.

Version 1 : Received: 3 June 2021 / Approved: 7 June 2021 / Online: 7 June 2021 (12:46:27 CEST)

How to cite: Rodenburg, K.S.; Bhattacharyya, A.; Rodenburg, E.; Papadopoulos, A. Choice Under Uncertainty and Ambiguity: An Empirical Inquiry of a Behavioral Economic Experiment Applied to COVID-19.. Preprints 2021, 2021060177 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202106.0177.v1). Rodenburg, K.S.; Bhattacharyya, A.; Rodenburg, E.; Papadopoulos, A. Choice Under Uncertainty and Ambiguity: An Empirical Inquiry of a Behavioral Economic Experiment Applied to COVID-19.. Preprints 2021, 2021060177 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202106.0177.v1).

Abstract

Results from a behavioral economic laboratory experiment are used to enhance our understanding of public health decisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic. The identification of systematic biases from optimal decision theory found in controlled experiments could help inform public policy design for future public health crises. The laboratory and the shelter-in-place decisions made during COVID-19 included elements of risk, uncertainty and ambiguity. The lab findings found individuals adopt different decision rules depending on both personal attributes and on the context and environment in which the decision task is conducted. Key observations to consider in the context of the COVID-19 decision environment include the importance of past experience, the ability to understand and calculate the odds of each action, the size and differences in economic payoffs given the choice, the value of information received, and how past statistical independent outcomes influence future decisions. The academic space encompassing both public health and behavioral economics is small, yet important, particularly in the current crisis. The objective of continued research in this area would be to develop a more representative model of decision-making processes, particularly during crisis, that would serve to enhance future public health policy design.

Subject Areas

public health decision making; COVID-19; behavioral economic; experimental economics; first-order stochastic dominance; bounded rationality; decision trees

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