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Strittmatter, Anthony; Sunde, Uwe; Zegners, Dainis (4. February 2022): Speed, Quality, and the Optimal Timing of Complex Decisions: Field Evidence. Collaborative Research Center Transregio 190, Discussion Paper No. 317


This paper presents an empirical investigation of the relation between decision speed and decision quality for a real-world setting of cognitively-demanding decisions in which the timing of decisions is endogenous: professional chess. Move-by-move data provide exceptionally detailed and precise information about decision times and decision quality, based on a comparison of actual decisions to a computational benchmark of best moves constructed using the artificial intelligence of a chess engine. The results reveal that faster decisions are associated with better performance. The findings are consistent with the predictions of procedural decision models like drift-diffusion-models in which decision makers sequentially acquire information about decision alternatives with uncertain valuations.