Revisiting status quo bias

Replication of Samuelson and Zeckhauser (1988)‎


  • Qinyu Xiao University of Hong Kong
  • Choi Shan Lam Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Muhrajan Piara Maastricht University
  • Gilad Feldman University of Hong Kong



status quo bias, judgment and decision making, replication


Status quo bias refers to people’s general preference to stick to, or continue with, a previously chosen option. In two pre-registered experiments with U.S. participants recruited from the Amazon Mechanical Turk (n1 = 311, n2 = 316), we attempted to replicate four decision scenarios (Question 1, 2, 4, and 6) from Samuelson and Zeckhauser (1988), the seminal article that provided the first experimental demonstration of the status quo bias. We found strong empirical support for the status quo bias in three decision scenarios out of the four, including budget allocation (Scenario 1/Question 1 in the original article), investment portfolios (Scenario 3/Question 2), and college jobs (Scenario 4/Ques- tion 4). However, we failed to find substantial support for the status quo bias in the wagon color choice scenario (Scenario 2/Question 6). We discuss the implications of our results and possible explanations using multiple accounts put forward in the status quo bias literature.


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2021-05-24 — Updated on 2022-01-09




Replication Reports