Theory and Decision

, Volume 79, Issue 4, pp 639–666 | Cite as

An experiment on case-based decision making



We experimentally investigate the disposition of decision makers to use case-based reasoning as suggested by Hume (An enquiry concerning human understanding, 1748) and formalized by case-based decision theory (Gilboa and Schmeidler in Q J Econ 110:605–639, 1995). Our subjects face a monopoly decision problem about which they have very limited information. Information is presented in a manner which makes similarity judgements according to the feature matching model of Tversky (Psychol Rev 84:327–352, 1977) plausible. We provide subjects a “history” of cases. In the \(2\times 2\) between-subject design, we vary whether information about the current market is given and whether immediate feedback about obtained profits is provided. The results provide support for the predictions of case-based decision theory, particularly when no immediate feedback is provided.


Case-based decision making Case-based reasoning  Heuristics Limited information environments Similarity 



We thank Gerd Gigerenzer and the audiences at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, the Department of Economics at Texas A&M, the ESA meetings in Atlanta, Rome and Tucson and the Second Santa Barbara Workshop in Experimental Economics for helpful suggestions and discussions. Financial support from the Department of Economics and the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M and the NSF is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ExeterExeterUK
  2. 2.Trinity UniversitySan AntonioUSA

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