SEMINAR: Discretionary Choice, Motivation, and the SUTVA
About the speaker: Gilles Chemla (Imperial)
Abstract: We illustrate how an agentís motivation changes as one moves from RCTs to settings with discretionary choice. A distinguishing characteristic of discretion is due diligence. Before making consequential choices, agents acquire information (signals). This alters motivation, with due diligence putting self-esteem at risk: Outcomes consistent with due diligence signals suggest high decision-making ability. Self-esteem risk exposure is valuable since learning about decision-making ability improves future decision-making. This increases motivation for undertaking future actions that are informative about due diligence quality. Under random assignment without due diligence: nothing is revealed about decision-making ability; the self-esteem component of motivation is absent; and SUTVA is violated. Thus, RCTs may have limited portability. Nevertheless, RCTs with high treatment probabilities, and/or selective trials with small reassignment probabilities, can increase due diligence incentives, improving portability.
Joint with: Christopher A Hennessy (LBS)
Host: Kostas Koufopolous