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Appears in Collections:Economics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Die-by Framing both Lengthens and Shortens Life: Further Evidence on Constructed Beliefs in Life Expectancy
Author(s): Comerford, David A
Robinson, Jenny
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Keywords: life expectancy
framing effects
probabilistic reasoning
Issue Date: Dec-2017
Citation: Comerford DA & Robinson J (2017) Die-by Framing both Lengthens and Shortens Life: Further Evidence on Constructed Beliefs in Life Expectancy. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 30 (5), pp. 1104-1112.
Abstract: Decisions regarding consumption over the lifespan require some estimate of how long that lifespan is likely to be. Payne et al. (2013) found that respondents' estimates of their own life expectancy are on average 8.6 years shorter when elicited using a die-by frame than when elicited by a live-to frame. If decision makers act on these life expectancies, then an arbitrary detail of framing will lead to drastically different choices. We propose that the framing effect is sensitive to the iterative probabilistic elicitation procedure employed by the previous literature. Study 1 compares the framing effect across the iterative probabilistic procedure and a point estimate procedure that simply asks respondents the age they will live to/die by. The iterative probabilistic procedure implies a life expectancy six years shorter in the die-by frame than in the live-to frame, replicating the results of Payne et al. (2013). With the point estimate procedure, however, the framing effect reverses: the die-by frame increases life expectancy by three years. In Study 2, we test for the framing effect using a point estimate procedure on a representative sample of 2000 Britons. Again, and in contrast with the previous literature, we find that the die-by frame implies longer life. Our results reinforce the previous literature that beliefs around life expectancy are constructed. We recommend caution when attempting to debias life expectancy estimates or using life expectancies in choice architecture.
DOI Link: 10.1002/bdm.2027
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Comerford, D. A., and Robinson, J. (2017) Die-by Framing both Lengthens and Shortens Life: Further Evidence on Constructed Beliefs in Life Expectancy. J. Behav. Dec. Making, 30: 1104–1112, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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