Breitmoser, Yves (Humboldt University Berlin)
Experimenters have to make theoretically irrelevant decisions concerning user interfaces and ordering or labeling of options. Such presentation decisions affect behavior and cause results to appear contradictory across experiments, obstructing utility estimation and policy recommendations. The present paper derives a model of choice allowing analysts to control for both presentation effects and stochastic errors in econometric analyses. I test the model in a comprehensive re-analysis of dictator game experiments. Controlling for presentation effects, preference estimates are consistent across experiments and predictive out-of-sample, highlighting the fundamental role of presentation for choice, and this notwithstanding the possibility of reliable estimation and prediction.
discrete choice; presentation effects; utility estimation; counterfactual predictions; laboratory experiment