, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 211-232

Experimental evidence on case-based decision theory

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Abstract

This paper starts out from the proposition that case-based decision theory (CBDT) is an appropriate tool to explain human decision behavior in situations of structural ignorance. Although the developers of CBDT suggest its reality adequacy, CBDT has not yet been tested empirically very often, especially not in repetitive decision situations. Therefore, our main objective is to analyse the decision behavior of subjects in a repeated-choice experiment by comparing the explanation power of CBDT to reinforcement learning and to classical decision criteria under uncertainty namely maximin, maximax, and pessimism-optimism. Our findings substantiate a predominant significantly higher validity of CBDT compared to the classical criteria and to reinforcement learning. For this reason, the experimental results confirm the suggested reality adequacy of CBDT in repetitive decision situations of structural ignorance.