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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractHuman behavior is incredibly complex, but it drives how our society functions. Economists have recently taken greater interest in understanding the decisions that people make, rather than prescribing optimal actions to take. The first two chapters of this dissertation contribute to the field of behavioral economics by using incentivized and unambiguous settings to determine if people base their decisions, in part, on sunk costs. Though standard economic theory would insist that sunk costs do not matter, I find that, at least in small stakes, sunk costs have about 10% the effect on decisions as profit does. Further, I find that sunk effort, even small amounts, can affect decisions, making one more likely to continue along the course of action for which they committed the effort. My third chapter surveys people's perceptions of contributions to judicial campaigns. I find that the distinction between signed and unsigned solicitations from a judge does not produce significantly different expected outcomes. Also, I find no evidence of a difference in the expected fines based on the race and gender of the judge.
Degree ProgramGraduate College