Working Papers

R&R, Games and Economic behavior

Abstract: I propose and axiomatically characterize a multi-attribute stochastic choice model that simultaneously generalizes the standard model of deterministic choice and the Luce model. Attributes are cardinal, independent measures of desirability that are endogenously inferred from observed choices, and thus subjective. An item is chosen with a positive probability from a set of available items (menu) if and only if it is undominated attribute-wise in that menu. This randomness of choice reflects the complexity of decision making and a possible lack of decisiveness in the face of conflicting motives due to the multiplicity of attributes. The model leads to the context-dependent evaluation of items by assigning every menu a distinct reference point against which the menu items are re-evaluated. The reference point of every menu takes the minimum values of attributes in that menu. The reference point can be interpreted as a context-dependent version of the commonly used status quo. Moreover, I provide an intuitive characterization of this reference point when attributes are objective. With appropriate choice of parameters, the model can accommodate a range of empirical findings that are incompatible with the standard model of deterministic choice and the Luce model, such as the attraction effect, the compromise effect, and violations of stochastic transitivity. Finally, explicit modeling of attributes allows the model to avoid the duplicate problem of the Luce model.

Theory and Decision (Forthcoming)

Abstract: Most models of choice over menus aim at capturing the effect of some behavioral or non-standard element of decision making on the behavior of a single decision maker. These models are usually compared with the standard model of choice over menus, in which the decision maker chooses a menu whose best item is better than that of all other available ones. However, in many real settings, such as experimental studies, the choice data might come from a population of decision makers with possibly different attitudes and tastes. This heterogeneity can make the observed choices over menus stochastic. This fact calls for a stochastic characterization of models of choice over menus to be able to better compare and contrast them, empirically. In this paper, I do this task for the standard model, which would be an extension of the random utility model to the realm of choice over menus. In particular, I provide the necessary and sufficient conditions, i.e. axioms on (stochastic) choice data over menus for it to be consistent with a population of decision makers each of whom behaves according to the standard model. The axioms that characterize the model are the axiom of revealed stochastic preferences over singletons, and three rationality axioms. At the end, I also briefly discuss an extension of the model to a setting with potentially time-inconsistent decision makers.

Conditionally accepted at The Journal of Mathematical Sociology

Abstract: There are many social and economic situations where two or more communities need to be integrated in an efficient and stable way that facilitates overall resource access throughout the network. We study structures for efficient integration of multi-community networks where building bridges across communities incur an additional link cost compared to links within a community. Building on the connections models with direct link cost and direct and indirect benefits, we show that the efficient structure for homogeneous cost and benefit parameters, and for communities of arbitrary size, always has a diameter no greater than 3. We further show that if the internal cost is not small enough to justify a full graph for each community, integration always follows one of these three structures: Single star, two hub-connected stars, and a new structure we introduce in this paper as parallel hyperstar, which is a special multi-core/periphery structure with parallel bridges that connect the core nodes of different communities and includes a wide range of efficiently integrated structures. Then we investigate stability conditions of these structures, using two different definitions: The standard pairwise stability, as well as a new stability notion we introduce in this paper as post transfer pairwise stability, which allows for bilateral utility transfers. We show that while the parallel hyperstar structure can never be both efficient and pairwise stable, once post transfer pairwise stability is used, efficiency guarantees stability. Furthermore, we show that all possible efficient structures can simultaneously be post transfer pairwise stable. In the end, we discuss future extensions of this model to multiple communities.

SSRN Working Paper

Abstract: In a choice experiment with 1866 MTurk participants in the domain of cars, we test some of the predictions of a family of multi-attribute choice models that incorporate a menu-dependent reference point whose value in every attribute is the minimum value of that attribute among the available options. In particular, these models predict that in two of the scenarios we consider in this paper, one should expect a significant attraction effect when an asymmetrically dominated option is added to the choice set, due to a change in the reference point. However, in the third scenario, these models predict no significant attraction effect will be observed, as the reference point remains intact. Our results give strong support to these predictions, suggesting that the aforementioned reference point has a significant impact on the evaluation of available options.

  • Preference for Ambiguity and Difficult Decisions (With Christopher F. Chabris )

Draft will be available soon!

Abstract: A well-known finding in behavioral economics is that people often avoid ambiguous gambles whose outcome probabilities are unknown in favor of risky gambles whose outcome probabilities are known, a phenomenon that is called ambiguity aversion. In a novel preregistered experiment with 1185 MTurk participants, we test the hypothesis that people show a higher preference for ambiguous gambles when they find it hard to rank its outcomes, where the outcomes themselves are simple monetary lotteries. The experiment results confirm our hypothesis. We plan to test the generalizability of our results by letting the outcomes of gambles come from domains other than the domain of monetary lotteries.

  • Democracy and Voter Turnout

In Preparation

Abstract: I examine the relationship between the level of democracy and voter turnout. Using a panel dataset that consists of 135 countries over different spans of time and controlling for compulsory voting, I find that there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between democracy and voter turnout.

Research in Progress

  • Homophilly Induced Conformity
  • Similarity Adjusted Multi-Attribute Luce Rule