Essays on context-dependent preferences and on choice architecture

This dissertation studies context-dependent preferences with a focus on the interactions between motives, context and behavior. Traditionally, economists sought to explain microeconomic behavior by preferences and strategic incentives (e.g. in a game) which also contain the constraints that the decision-maker faces. In this framework, behavioral changes are explained by the reaction of optimizing agents to changes in prices, information or technology. Based on insights from psychology, this dissertation investigates whether different discrete motives are connected with different preferences. In particular, the impact of the context-sensitive motives care, anger and wanting / resource-seeking on behavior in social dilemma situations is studied. Moreover, this dissertation also treats achievement, affiliation, fear and power / status-seeking motives and connects the study of motives with narratives and choice architecture.


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