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Experimental Analysis of Framing Effects via Observation of Decision-Making Processes to Improve the Real-World Applicability of Decision Research in Economics (FRAMING_EFFECTS)
Start date: 01 Oct 2015, End date: 30 Sep 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Fellowship objective is to explain influences of descriptive context on individual decisions, i.e. framing effects, by observing processes of making-sense (of representation/interpretation/rationalization). Experimental Economics ignores effects of framing on this “black-box” of decision-making processes, and instead theorizes framing by observing only choices & using fixed preference structures. This not only limits our understanding of these effects but weakens real-world applicability of experimental results & leads to inefficient use of public funds; e.g., it is well-established that descriptions used in policy tools, e.g. contingent valuation (CV) & nudging, significantly affect results, yet it is unknown why or how. To unpack this box, fellowship at U. of Nottingham’s Centre for Decision Research & Experimental Economics (CeDEx) will combine Dr.Isler’s background in methodology research with training/research on framing to develop 2 new experiment designs. Secondment at Leeds U. Centre for Decision Research will enable training on Process Tracing Methods (PTMs) & Mouselab software to provide capacity for process observations. Using PTMs/Mouselab in experiments at CeDEx, 1st design will isolate framing effects that choice/preference-based conventional theories cannot explain; 2nd design will analyse these effects in CV-like public good setting to develop probabilistic/structural model to forecast & PTM-based nonconventional theory to explain the effects. To allow sector/policy applications of lab results (e.g., to CV), designs will be used in field experiments at health/fundraising SME secondments, where training on patient/donor interaction & gender/ethics issues will prepare proper implementation. Fellowship’s training-through-research will thus launch a career in PTM-based framing research leading to innovations in Horizon 2020 health/efficiency/gender priorities that save public/private funds via appropriate reframing of customer relations & policy tools.
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