Experimental & Behavioural Economics Seminar - Ryan Oprea (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Room 315, Level 3, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street, Carlton

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Siqi Pan

siqi.pan@unimelb.edu.au

Title: What is Complex?

Abstract: This paper measures the complexity and complexity costs of following abstract rules. I pay subjects to attempt to follow a set of rules whose machine (finite automata) representations vary in ways hypothesized to influence complexity in the theoretical literature. I then measure subjects' willingness to pay to avoid being asked to follow these rules in future stages of the experiment. I vary the ease with which subjects can discover heuristic simplifications of these rules or import cultural mnemonic devices to ease complexity. Finally I examine learning and how complexity and complexity costs vary between familiar and unfamiliar rules.