Click or skip: The role of experience in easy-click checking decisions

Yefim Roth, Michaela Wänke, Ido Erev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


New websites and smartphone applications provide easy-click checking opportunities that can help consumers in many domains. However, this technology is not always used effectively. For example, many consumers skip checking Terms and Conditions links even when a quick evaluation of the terms can save them money, but they check their smartphone while driving even though this behavior is illegal and dangerous. Four laboratory experiments clarify the significance of one contributor to such contradictory deviations from effective checking. Studies 1, 2, and 3 show that, like basic decisions from experience, checking decisions reflect underweighting of rare events, which in turn is a sufficient condition for the coexistence of insufficient and too much checking. Insufficient checking emerges when most checking efforts impair performance even if checking is effective on average. Too much checking emerges when most checking clicks are rewarding even if checking is counterproductive on average. This pattern can be captured with a model that assumes reliance on small samples of past checking decision experiences. Study 4 shows that when the goal is to increase checking, interventions that increase the probability that checking leads to the best possible outcome can be far more effective than efforts to reduce the cost of checking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-597
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016. Oxford University. All rights reserved.


  • Checking decisions
  • Clicking decisions
  • Decision from experience
  • Decision-description gap
  • Incentives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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