A framing effect occurs when different, but logically equivalent, words or phrases (e.g., 10% employment or 90% unemployment) cause individuals to alter their decisions. Demonstrations of framing effects challenge a fundamental tenet of rational choice theory and suggest that public opinion is so malleable that it cannot serve as a useful guide to policymakers. In this article I argue that most previous work overstates the ubiquity of framing effects because it forces experimental participants to make decisions in isolation from social contact and context. I present two experiments where I show that some widely known framing effects greatly diminish and sometimes disappear when participants are given access to credible advice about how to decide. I discuss the implications of my findings for rational choice theory, and public opinion and public policy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management