Date of Award
Master of Arts
Charnov's (1976) marginal value theorem has had success in predicting that animals will optimize net rate of gain when foraging in a patchy environment. The present study attempts to apply the marginal value theorem (MVT) to human behavior in a business setting in 3 Experiments. Businesses also attempt to optimize net rate of gain when choosing to discontinue one product in lieu of another using a product life cycle (PLC). Experiments 1 & 2 attempted to assess human behavior in a business context by varying time necessary to retool and monetary cost of retooling respectively. Experiment 3 attempted to add ecological validity by introducing variability to the PLC. The results of Experiments 1, 2, & 3 indicate that the MVT does not accurately predict human behavior in a business context, though methodological issues may have affected these results. Future research must be conducted in this area.
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