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University of Michigan School of Information


SBEE seminar series: Ryan Oprea

09/15/2020, 10:00 am - 11:15 am

What Makes a Rule Complex?


We study the complexity of rules by paying experimental subjects to implement a series of algorithms and then eliciting their willingness-to-pay to avoid implementing them again in the future. The design allows us to examine hypotheses from the theoretical "automata'' literature about the characteristics of rules that generate complexity costs. We find substantial aversion to complexity and a number of regularities in the characteristics of rules that make them complex and costly for subjects. Experience with a rule, the way a rule is represented, and the context in which a rule is implemented (mentally versus physically) also influence complexity.

Speaker Bio:

ryan oprea

Ryan Oprea is a professor of economics at UC Santa Barbara and the Director of the Laboratory for the Integration of Theory and Experiments (LITE).  His recent research is focused on understanding how bounded rationality arises from aversion to complexity and preferences for procedural decision making.  Other research interests include understanding disequilibrium behavior in markets and strategic behavior in continuous time settings.  He is an associated editor at the American Economic Review, Games and Economic Behavior, is on the editorial board at Experimental Economics and serves on the Executive Committees of the Economic Science Association and the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind.


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The Social, Behavioral and Experimental Economics seminar series is a joint presentation of the School of Information, the Ross School of Business and the LSA Department of Economics.