In economics, there is limited use of linguistic analysis to understand decision making processes and the contextual relationship between preferences. Over the last 6 months I have undertaken field research to understand how parents choose a school for their children and the decision architecture associated with this choice. The objective was not simply to collect information about stated preferences per se, but to understand the complexity of the decision process. I collected 22 exploratory interviews from Melbourne and regional Victorian parents – with a reasonable level of diversity in family demographics – looking at how they approach the problem of choosing a school for their children.
The purpose of these interviews was to principally explore for interesting economic ideas and questions arising from field observations. The intent was not to achieve a statistically robust collection of interviews of limited scope but instead to explore for opportunities that would warrant targeted econometric, experimental or theoretical research in the later part of my PhD. The presentation I gave at the 2014 ‘Cooperation and conflict in the family’ conference on an intergenerational discount heuristic is one of the ideas that arose from these field observations/interviews.