טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentSegal Shiri
SubjectCompetitive Search in Uncertain Environments: The
Influence of Having More versus Less Options to
Choose from, when Searching
Competitively Under Un...*****
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor DR. Kinneret Tedorescu
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

When given a choice between uncertain options, information search can be crucial to discriminate

‘good’ from ‘bad’. However, information search takes time, which is scarce in many real-life situations. Hence, a competitive environment, embodies an exploration-exploitation tradeoff: collecting more information on more options can lead to better identification of the best options, but data collection also takes time, which in turn reduces the chances that the best options will remain available. The current work aims to extend our understanding of competitive search, by examining cases in which some competitors have more available options than others. To address this, we developed a variation of the competitive sampling game in which some players have more options to choose from than others. We examined whether and how the nature of the environment (‘kind’ vs. ‘wicked’) affects search behavior and subsequent performance of players with more vs. less options to choose from. The results reveal that choosing from more options increased the number of samples taken per round but not the number of samples taken per option. Thus, having more options increased search overall, but the amount of search for each option did not differ. Accordingly, in a ‘kind’ environment having more options led to decreased performance and the opposite in a ‘wicked’ environment. This result was attained when ‘kind’ and ‘wicked’ environments were operated by both the distribution of outcomes within an option and the deceptiveness of the frequent outcomes between options.

            Keywords: competition, uncertainty, search