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Regret theory and the tyranny of choice

Irons, Ben and Hepburn, Cameron (2007) Regret theory and the tyranny of choice. Economic Record, 83 (261). pp. 191-203. ISSN 0013-0249

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1475-4932.2007.00393.x


As economists, we tend to accept the principle that more choice cannot make us worse off. However, recent evidence from laboratory and field experiments suggests that more choice can inhibit decision-making and reduce search in many situations, potentially reducing welfare. This paper provides a formal theoretical foundation for these observations by embedding the regret theory of Loomes and Sugden (1982) in three search models. Beyond a threshold number of options, we find that ‘less is more’: agents who experience regret have lower utility as the number of options is increased.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 The Economic Society of Australia
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2011 12:59
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 00:09

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