Working Papers

"Better and Faster Decisions with Recommendation Algorithms" (with Yiting Chen and Songfa Zhong), Job Market Paper.

While recommendation algorithms have been increasingly used in daily life, little has been done to investigate their effect on decision making in terms of decision quality and preferences. Here we examine this question in an experimental setting whereby subjects from a representative US sample are randomly assigned to five conditions and make sets of binary choices between two lotteries. The two control conditions provide either no recommendation or recommendation based on a randomization device. The three treatment conditions provide recommendations developed by algorithms: one is based on the choice of the majority, and the other two use AI-based recommenders including content-based filtering and user-based collaborative filtering. We find that subjects tend to follow recommended choices and are willing to pay a small fee to receive recommendations for their subsequent decisions. Compared to control conditions, recommendation helps subjects make better and faster decisions and behave in accordance with the independence axiom. These results can be explained by some classes of stochastic choice models. Our work adds to the growing literature on the behavioral underpinnings of algorithms including AI and shed light on the design of choice architecture for decision making under risk. 

"Individualism-Collectivism  and Risk Perception around the World" (with Songfa Zhong), revise and resubmit (2nd round) at Management Science.

Understanding cultural differences in risk perception is critical in an increasingly uncertain world. Here we examine the relationship between the individualism-collectivism continuum and risk perception around the world using a recently available dataset from the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll. Using a representative sample of 150,000 participants from 142 countries, the dataset contains rich information and investigates risk perception in terms of perceived likelihood and personal experiences for a range of risks in daily life. We observe that participants from countries with a more individualist culture perceive lower risk after controlling for their personal experiences. We observe similar results when we adopt an epidemiological approach to investigate the individualist cultural influence of migrants and use historical kinship tightness to proxy for individualism. Our study sheds light on the importance of culture in shaping risk perception and contributes to understanding global differences in behavioral traits.

Work in Progress

"Algorithm Biases, Beliefs, and Decisions".

* presented by a co-author