The role of attribution of causality in economic decision making

Gregory Gurevich, Doron Kliger, Bernard Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research has established that economic decisions often deviate from game theoretic predictions. We explore the process of causal thinking as a possible explanation for such deviations. Specifically, we suggest that causal information affects economic decisions based on the principles advocated by . Weiner's (1985, 1986) attribution theory (AT) of motivation and emotion. Prior research in this area considered only subsets of the dimensions employed by the theory. We test the predictions stemming from AT in contexts where economic decisions involve sharing gains between party members (e.g., splitting profits) and assess how such decisions are affected by the reasons attributed for obtaining the gains. Results indicate a significant link between causal attribution and economic decisions and shed light on the rules and the rationale that guide this link. We conclude that research into economic decision making should pay a greater attention to the explanatory value of AT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-444
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Socio-Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Attribution theory
  • Decision making
  • Emotions
  • Judgment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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