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c1ue
08-31-12, 03:33 PM
Many of the concepts talked about amongst the 23 things are not new to iTulip members, but are still worth seeing in a different format and milieu.

In addition, those iTulipers who follow Michael Hudson, Bill Black, and so forth will also note the relatively low level of detail under most commentary - though the anecdotes are interesting.

To be fair, I think this is mostly due to the author working primarily at a very high economic level.

There were, however, several key concepts which are new.


Manufacturing vs. Service jobs. 2 key points: the first is that one reason the manufacturing portion of GDP has fallen is not because of the increasing unimportance of manufacturing, nor because of increasing automation, but rather it is because the service portion of the economy is both increasingly expensive (standard of living) and inflexible – i.e. unable to increase productivity in the same manner as manufacturing can and has. The second is the direct corollary that costs of services are a direct function of immigration – nations with higher immigration have lower service costs if the standard of living is otherwise identical.
Education vs. economic development. There is no correlation whatsoever between either literacy rates, standard test achievement scores, or even university level enrollment and economic success.
Government vs. private sector. Professor Chang makes an argument that all economies are planned in some way, we simply fail to see the wires.
Rational choice is an illusion due to shortcuts made in order to reduce complexity, as is the concept that self interest is the best or even primary human motivator.
A welfare state seems to correlate more with ‘free trade’ than an austere one because workers in an austere state fight harder to retain their more irreplaceable jobs and benefits.
The reason poor countries are poor isn’t because they have so many poor people. It is because their rich people do so much less to contribute to the overall economic productivity and potential of their own nation.



With regards to 3) above, that is something Dr. Michael Hudson has noted as well, but perhaps in this case Dr. Chang doesn’t quite go far enough towards the corollary that the failure of government to direct economic planning in the national interest means allowing said planning to be potentially directed toward other purposes. Dr. Chang also does not make any reference to institutional fraud – an interesting oversight – ascribing the GFC as being purely a function of overleverage and under-comprehension of new financial instruments. To be fair, the book seems primarily focused on very high level economic flows, so perhaps in this respect it is unsurprising that 23 Things doesn’t go into FIRE or fraud.

There is much more, I would highly recommend this book both for what facts are presented as well as for being eminently readable and reasonable. As with Dr. Michael Hudson, Dr. Chang educates on economic history as well as economics, with anecdotes ranging from Stalin’s pre-empting of his opponent’s economic theories to seemingly antithetical views held by many of the patron saints of neoliberal economic theory.

Those of free market ideological bent are not going to enjoy this book, but agree or disagree, the points made therein are worth consideration.

Ghent12
09-12-12, 03:16 PM
Those points will need a lot of expounding upon in order to be acceptable. As an example, #4 makes no sense whatsoever in its current snippet form. Rational choice is an illusion due to the concept of perception? Give me a break.

I might pick up the book if it's cheap enough and I have the time, but this snippet you posted just seems to be an example of how the author misunderstands what they are even writing about. What is their definition of capitalism, for instance? I know that you don't care about economic definitions at all, c1ue, but they matter to some people.

seobook
09-13-12, 07:27 AM
#4 is very real. it's why Coors spends $400 million a year on ads. it's why Geico spends about double that. it's why the day after Progressive got called out for paying to defend a killer of one of their clients they had ads running on YouTube with their cartoon character spokesperson suggesting you name your price. it's why changing the shape of a product's container or the color of the package can increase sales.

does drinking beer & watching football every weekend magically turn one into a magnet that attracts women? or does it reinforce repelling them by harming one's health, brain & body?

big companies spending big on awareness (especially awareness campaigns that are not even tied to their product, but are just there to have awareness of their brand name) is itself in some degree proof of the concept at play.

and many markets are winner take most markets that appear aligned with power laws. at some point awareness creates more awareness, a concept called cumulative advantage.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/15/magazine/15wwlnidealab.t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

also over the past 5 years Google has moved away from serving small businesses & direct marketers as their primary client toward becoming a shill for big brands. As that became more & more their approach to ads, there was also some carryover in the "relevancy" algorithms that determine the remaining organic results. They have done at least 3 different big updates (vince, panda, penguin) that dialed up on the false belief that size = quality. And those are in addition to increasing their own vertical search results like shopping results (often the same brands again), increasing the size of the AdWords ad units (often the same brands again), tweaking their internal vocabulary relationships to allow less relevant & larger sites to rank more broadly, dialing up filters against aggressive link anchor text & dialing down the weight on anchor text. Google's remote rater documents have leaked publicly numerous times & some of them talk specifically about penalizing affiliates: "Note: Major cosmopolitan cities are preferred targets for spammers, especially hotel affiliates. Such results should be flagged as Spam, even if they are related to the query and helpful to users. For example, a hotel affiliate page with a list of Chicago hotels may be assigned a rating Relevant, but also receive a Spam flag."

and there are other concepts aligned with #4 as well when you dig into behavioral economics & look at how people compare free vs a quarter against similar items priced at a penny more each. our fear of loss is stronger than our sense of reward for a similarly sized gain, which is why the default for anything that is marketed as "free" does so much better than even a penny. we don't want to lose the reward & saying no can only mean a loss because it is free.

also look at all the various bubbles that have formed over the years. in addition to the big/macro ones like tech stocks + housing prices + education there have also been smaller ones within niches (like baseball cards in the 1980s & 1990s). if these bubbles were rational behaviors by people who got sucked up in them (while not being in on the take) then they were due to "shortcuts made in order to reduce complexity" (like projecting the recent past into the future, not understanding complexity of the contracts or some of the shady forms of leverage propping up prices, etc.)

Ghent12
09-13-12, 12:18 PM
You have done nothing to illustrate how point #4 is real. I am assuming that c1ue has simply paraphrased that point from the book, because as it is written it is virtually indefensible. The concept of rational choice is not at all diminished by the concept of perception. Is it irrational buy one brand over another, simply because it was more advertised? Absolutely not! Brands themselves do the consumer a service, whether or not the customer is even consciously aware of all of the services that branding provides them. Shortcutting all of the minutia of brands, for example that they carry with them knowledge and a very high expectation of a certain standard (i.e. you expect Great Value ice cream to not be as good as Blue Bell, but you expect that neither will be rotten or contain sawdust or other overt contaminants) and the like is not at all a diminishment of rational choice. Sometimes it's irrational to become a subject matter expert on every single action you consider (since you will not have time for any activity at all), and therefore it becomes rational to make reasonable guesses based upon information that was shortcutted to you via your brain's natural tendencies.

Getting "swept up in a bubble" is not inherently irrational. You cannot have all the information, and nobody is capable of predicting the future with perfect accuracy and precision. It is not irrational to act with incomplete information, nor is it necessarily irrational to get "swept up in a bubble" even if you know it is a bubble that will burst. Hell, a LOT of people got really rich by being early adopters inside the bubble while assuming that it was a bubble.

There is no "universal rationality" that applies to everyone. You cannot say, "a rational person in this situation would behave thusly," since everyone has distinct values. This applies to the economic term, "Rationality," and not other meanings of that same word. Do not make c1ue's mistake and confuse meanings of terms from other fields, or refuse to acknowledge that the field of economics has its own definitions of terms.

seobook
09-13-12, 12:30 PM
our perceptions often determine what we think is rational (even when something isn't).

perception doesn't diminish rationality.

it informs (or misinforms) it.

there are loads and loads of business models (or extensions of existing ones) built off of leveraging the gaps between our perceptions and objective reality.
http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2012/08/the-trillion-dollar-lies/

isn't there a popular quote "the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

Ghent12
09-13-12, 12:37 PM
our perceptions often determine what we think is rational (even when something isn't).
The quoted statement is a contradiction. Rationality is inherently subjective in economics.

c1ue
09-13-12, 02:00 PM
Those points will need a lot of expounding upon in order to be acceptable. As an example, #4 makes no sense whatsoever in its current snippet form. Rational choice is an illusion due to the concept of perception? Give me a break.

You've expressed your disagreement in the past with the notion that people don't actually know everything and don't always make the rational choice, but the behavioral economics school has been providing ever more proof that this is true.

Just a few examples:

1) People are far more interested in screwing other people than making more money. A slew of experiments have shown that people would rather spend money to knock other people down rather than invest said money to make a little more

2) Yet other experiments show that once more than 3 choices are offered, the choices actually made depend far more on what was last presented than any objective criteria of 'better value'.

3) As the 2001 and more recent stock market stumbles have shown, people don't 'stay in the market' even if there is some evidence that they should.

4) A variant of 3) is that losses are considered far more proportionately painful than gains: experiments have shown that a 50% loss outweighs many 100% gains even though overall the investor gains.

I'd suggest you look into some of this work.

Ghent12
09-13-12, 10:15 PM
You are arguing against straw men, your favorite activity. I have never acknowledged that perfect information is a valid assumption. While many "rational choice" purists may like to make those and other assumptions, those who favor a realistic approach to economics operate under the assumption that perfect knowledge is not a prerequisite to making a rational choice. If you want to go full Austrian, then Mises would point out that every single action done by humans is rational, even those of an insane person--their rational for acting might change erratically, but at the point any action is made, it is done to further the ends of person, however temporarily valuable those ends might be to them.

Let me ask you this, c1ue: is it irrational to satisfy an emotional need? Or, more fundamentally, what is rational to you? None of your examples illustrate irrational actions as far as I can tell. In fact, your second example points out a fundamental contradiction--how can you have objective criteria for an inherently subjective measure? At best, you can only come up with generalizations. The value judgements of people are always inside their own head. As for the experiments you don't cite properly under example 2, how do we know that people aren't just choosing the easiest to remember option because they have no tangible incentive to choose any others? How do we actually know that they don't value simplicity over other things that are "objectively the better value," using your contradictory language?

You say to look into some of this work, yet cite none of it. Since we are still speaking two different languages anyways, it doesn't even matter.

astonas
09-14-12, 06:57 PM
There is no "universal rationality" that applies to everyone. You cannot say, "a rational person in this situation would behave thusly," since everyone has distinct values. This applies to the economic term, "Rationality," and not other meanings of that same word. Do not make c1ue's mistake and confuse meanings of terms from other fields, or refuse to acknowledge that the field of economics has its own definitions of terms.

I'm certainly no fan of the efficient market hypothesis, and I'm perfectly fine with behavioral economics, but I think Ghent12 is right on this point.

I also think it is deceptively easy to blame "capitalism," as though that were a single monolithic entity. It may be better to note that every capitalist system exists under a set of rules, administered by an entity. It is a mistake to assume that the underlying forces (capitol motive) are fundamentally corrupt, when it is in fact the administrator of the counterbalancing forces (government) that is corrupt. On the other hand, it is also foolish to assume that a "pure" capitalist system (without anyone at all administering rules and applying counterbalancing forces) is an improvement. That is simply winner-take-all anarchy, and is more destructive by far.

Don't blame the profit motive, it is fundamental to human nature. But do regulate its effects more intelligently.

Ghent12
09-15-12, 04:30 PM
I'm certainly no fan of the efficient market hypothesis, and I'm perfectly fine with behavioral economics, but I think Ghent12 is right on this point.

I also think it is deceptively easy to blame "capitalism," as though that were a single monolithic entity. It may be better to note that every capitalist system exists under a set of rules, administered by an entity. It is a mistake to assume that the underlying forces (capitol motive) are fundamentally corrupt, when it is in fact the administrator of the counterbalancing forces (government) that is corrupt. On the other hand, it is also foolish to assume that a "pure" capitalist system (without anyone at all administering rules and applying counterbalancing forces) is an improvement. That is simply winner-take-all anarchy, and is more destructive by far.

Don't blame the profit motive, it is fundamental to human nature. But do regulate its effects more intelligently.
Strictly speaking, purist free market supporters of the Adam Smith tradition believe that capitalists are fundamentally corrupt, and that they are just about the most vile scum on the planet, save the occasional dictator. It is the overall system of allowing them to compete with each other which provides the greatest measure of protection and benefit for the society at large. You will find at the root of essentially all government interventions a supporter for it that benefited from it at the expense of the rest of society.

Further, it would be a great service for everyone if we avoid simplistic labels such as "capitalism" or "free market" or even "the market" from being applied willy-nilly to various subjects of discussion, if only from the perspective that such systems are actually always present to some degree and never to their fullest extent. Such descriptions apply to the wilderness beyond, or to any area outside the boundaries of, the state. Ergo, you can have simultaneously a "free market" but also massive government intervention. To be exact, you will never have an unfettered free market.

It is within the fundamental nature of human action and interaction to behave in a broad range of ways, and so long as they are not constrained by the state, then they can be called "the market." Yet you cannot possibly begin to define "the market" by the behaviors exhibited by people who are constrained in some way by the state. All you can surmise are types of general trends--to the extent that the people are in the wilderness outside of political forces, they tend to accumulate wealth for themselves. Conversely, to the extent that people are inside the boundaries of the state, they tend to extract wealth to enrich themselves. Every possible behavior can exist because the state can expand or contract to any level of constraint, and that is a function of how people themselves control their darker impulses to control each other.

c1ue
09-20-12, 03:23 PM
You are arguing against straw men, your favorite activity.

And I can equally point out that you are constantly harping about how the free market would solve all 'if only' {insert excuse like government regulation}


I have never acknowledged that perfect information is a valid assumption.

Not true. You believe the free market works better because of why? Magic? Or that all or most of its participants will have correct information and act rationally?


While many "rational choice" purists may like to make those and other assumptions, those who favor a realistic approach to economics operate under the assumption that perfect knowledge is not a prerequisite to making a rational choice. If you want to go full Austrian, then Mises would point out that every single action done by humans is rational, even those of an insane person--their rational for acting might change erratically, but at the point any action is made, it is done to further the ends of person, however temporarily valuable those ends might be to them.

All this is fine and good, but the points I noted above specifically illustrate that these categories of actions are not definable as rational even from the individual's point of view. Thus it is utterly false to compare a temporarily rational decision - i.e. a short term vs. long term, or a decision made from incomplete/incorrect information - with those noted above where there was perfect information yet irrational choices were made anyway.


Let me ask you this, c1ue: is it irrational to satisfy an emotional need? Or, more fundamentally, what is rational to you? None of your examples illustrate irrational actions as far as I can tell. In fact, your second example points out a fundamental contradiction--how can you have objective criteria for an inherently subjective measure? At best, you can only come up with generalizations. The value judgements of people are always inside their own head. As for the experiments you don't cite properly under example 2, how do we know that people aren't just choosing the easiest to remember option because they have no tangible incentive to choose any others? How do we actually know that they don't value simplicity over other things that are "objectively the better value," using your contradictory language?

I'm unclear what exactly your point is about emotional needs.

If I were to say I agree, then does this not in itself support the notion that rational decision making in an objective sense is false? That any form of consistent behavior from a group of people cannot occur unless they share similar/identical emotional needs?

Seems like you're arguing against yourself.


You say to look into some of this work, yet cite none of it. Since we are still speaking two different languages anyways, it doesn't even matter.

All of the above examples are quite easily searchable as they are in the forefront of behavioral economic research. I've posted some of these explicit examples previously on iTulip. If you do not desire to find them as you've clearly not either read the previously posted articles or remember having read them, then so be it.

Ghent12
09-21-12, 11:38 PM
All this is fine and good, but the points I noted above specifically illustrate that these categories of actions are not definable as rational even from the individual's point of view. Thus it is utterly false to compare a temporarily rational decision - i.e. a short term vs. long term, or a decision made from incomplete/incorrect information - with those noted above where there was perfect information yet irrational choices were made anyway.
Perhaps I misread what you wrote, but I haven't seen any example where the individuals in these "studies" call their own actions irrational. But even if that were the case, that is immaterial--their definition is their own, and they may as well have called their actions "superhuman" and have it be just as acceptable as them calling themselves either rational or irrational.

You simply refuse to put yourself in any shoes, it seems. Neither, apparently, do these behavioral studies you [fail to] cite (unless you are misinterpreting their results). Look at two of your examples:

3) As the 2001 and more recent stock market stumbles have shown, people don't 'stay in the market' even if there is some evidence that they should.

4) A variant of 3) is that losses are considered far more proportionately painful than gains: experiments have shown that a 50% loss outweighs many 100% gains even though overall the investor gains. I'll start with #4 first: ignoring your seemingly improper wording (of course losses are considered far more painful than gains since gains are usually not painful at all), just what are the conditions of these gains and losses? Is this an extremely high-risk, high-reward stock? You give no information about this experiment at all. But even if, say, you could guarantee that eventually more 100% gains than 50% losses over a period of time will occur on a given stock or investment, it is still not irrational to not choose that stock or investment. Without going into the issue of satisfying emotional needs just yet, there are a number of strictly financial reasons to avoid such a scheme including a limited timeline of investment and the fact that the marginal utility of the 100% that is gained may be significantly less than the marginal utility of the 50% that is lost. Just from purely basic economics, the value of the 50% that is lost could be significantly greater than the 100% that is gained more often. Choosing to avoid the loss of 50% cannot be considered from a standpoint free of emotion. Add the concept that satisfying one's emotional needs can be a rational act itself to the mix, and you definitely cannot come to the conclusion that people who avoid this "good deal" for them are acting irrationally.

As for #3, even your verbiage is totally presumptuous. What "should" someone do with their own wealth, c1ue? Can you really presume to include the entirety of every single investors' goals when you say what they really "should" do? This is very basic: they "should" stay in the market because of some reason you consider important to them. Note that reasons you consider important to them and reasons that they consider important to themselves are not necessarily the same thing.


Your eager willingness to say that something "is good for you" to someone else is reckless. While that may be true that a given thing really is good for most people most of the time, it is almost never true that such a thing would be good for all people all of the time. This is probably the most fundamental difference between you and I. You seem willing to catalog people and take the utilitarian approach in addressing whatever issue, whereas I am generally loathe to play collectivist (though I still do it out of prior habit which I am trying to break) and I generally don't have the pretense of knowledge of someone's unique situation.

c1ue
09-22-12, 03:51 PM
Perhaps I misread what you wrote, but I haven't seen any example where the individuals in these "studies" call their own actions irrational. But even if that were the case, that is immaterial--their definition is their own, and they may as well have called their actions "superhuman" and have it be just as acceptable as them calling themselves either rational or irrational.

Sorry, but the person's own definition of rationality is not relevant. For one thing, the examples I noted above show that at least some behavior is irrational even by the individual's own viewpoint; the actions noted are due to emotional responses.

Your attempt to relabel such emotional responses as rational in the individual's viewpoint is again an ideological action.


I'll start with #4 first: ignoring your seemingly improper wording (of course losses are considered far more painful than gains since gains are usually not painful at all), just what are the conditions of these gains and losses? Is this an extremely high-risk, high-reward stock?

If you refuse to look at the studies, then there's no point of my forcing you to partake of knowledge you fundamentally disagree with.

The reality which has been shown over and over again is that people would far rather not lose 50% than gain 100%, even though the net gain is positive or even very positive. This means that even for exactly offsetting gains vs. losses, most people would rather not play, which in turn means that losses are avoided far more than gains are sought.

This is very much a classic definition of an irrational behavior, especially when the ratio of gains vs. losses (i.e. overall absolute gain, or risk of loss in light of potential for gain) is highly positive.



As for #3, even your verbiage is totally presumptuous. What "should" someone do with their own wealth, c1ue? Can you really presume to include the entirety of every single investors' goals when you say what they really "should" do? This is very basic: they "should" stay in the market because of some reason you consider important to them. Note that reasons you consider important to them and reasons that they consider important to themselves are not necessarily the same thing.

You're still trying to argue - but I'm making no arguments. What I pointed out was that there are all sorts of studies showing that investors do not act rationally.

Instead you seek to parlay this into my judgement of what investors should do.

I again suggest you actually read some of these studies to understand what people actually do vs. what you apparently think they do.

Ghent12
09-22-12, 06:09 PM
Sorry, but the person's own definition of rationality is not relevant. For one thing, the examples I noted above show that at least some behavior is irrational even by the individual's own viewpoint; the actions noted are due to emotional responses.You are the one that brought the individual's definition of rational into the discussion. You are now arguing with yourself.



If you refuse to look at the studies, then there's no point of my forcing you to partake of knowledge you fundamentally disagree with.What studies? You haven't even labelled any of them!


The reality which has been shown over and over again is that people would far rather not lose 50% than gain 100%, even though the net gain is positive or even very positive. This means that even for exactly offsetting gains vs. losses, most people would rather not play, which in turn means that losses are avoided far more than gains are sought.

This is very much a classic definition of an irrational behavior, especially when the ratio of gains vs. losses (i.e. overall absolute gain, or risk of loss in light of potential for gain) is highly positive.Again, their decisions are not irrational.


I again suggest you actually read some of these studies to understand what people actually do vs. what you apparently think they do.What studies?! All I have done is use exactly what you posted--this has nothing with what I think they do, but with what you said they did. It's still not irrational to behave in any way as you described in any of your examples.

c1ue
09-23-12, 03:45 PM
You are the one that brought the individual's definition of rational into the discussion. You are now arguing with yourself.

In fact, no.

You yourself wrote this:


Let me ask you this, c1ue: is it irrational to satisfy an emotional need? Or, more fundamentally, what is rational to you? None of your examples illustrate irrational actions as far as I can tell. In fact, your second example points out a fundamental contradiction--how can you have objective criteria for an inherently subjective measure? At best, you can only come up with generalizations.

Followed by this:


You simply refuse to put yourself in any shoes, it seems.

The original post and the subsequent one made no mention whatsoever of subjective rationality at you keep harping on.

But then again, you seek to promote your ideology rather than discuss.

I have yet to see any attempt whatsoever to actually look at the subject as opposed to try and pick arguments with it.

Ghent12
09-24-12, 03:32 PM
I have yet to see any attempt whatsoever to actually look at the subject as opposed to try and pick arguments with it.That is a contradiction.



The original post and the subsequent one made no mention whatsoever of subjective rationality at you keep harping on.
Yet here is what you said:


2) Yet other experiments show that once more than 3 choices are offered, the choices actually made depend far more on what was last presented than any objective criteria of 'better value'.
Value is inherently subjective in economics, yet in your summary of "other experiments" (still not cited in any way) you used the phrase, "objective criteria of 'better value'." You seemingly even acknowledge that value is subjective by putting it in half-quotation marks.

You brought value into the discussion in an attempt to justify your position that rational choice is an illusion. In economics, however, value is subjective and unquantifiable.

How many hedons is one extra apple worth to you, vice how many hedons is that same apple worth to me? Such a silly Benthamite notion has long been discredited, yet here you (and apparently behavioral psychologists as well, though we have to take your word for it) are trying to revive it.

c1ue
09-30-12, 02:32 PM
Yet here is what you said:
http://www.itulip.com/forums/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by c1ue
2) Yet other experiments show that once more than 3 choices are offered, the choices actually made depend far more on what was last presented than any objective criteria of 'better value'.




Value is inherently subjective in economics, yet in your summary of "other experiments" (still not cited in any way) you used the phrase, "objective criteria of 'better value'." You seemingly even acknowledge that value is subjective by putting it in half-quotation marks.

The problem here is that the assignation of value was not determined by me, but by the economists analyzing the experiment.

Furthermore if you actually bothered to look into these experiments, perhaps you could either provide an understanding of the 'subjective' value or - less likely - acknowledge that you don't know what you're talking about.

For example: I posted a recent experiment where the subject were told that the data in question consisted of completely random coin flips.

The subjects knew explicitly then that the results of said coin flips are completely random and furthermore are 50% either heads or tails.

Yet communication of 'successful tips' via results segregation led to those receiving the segregated successes choosing to subscribe to said service.

Riddle me then the thought process which takes a completely random event - which you know to be random - and then causes you to subscribe to a service which purports to predict the result.

Ghent12
10-02-12, 08:32 PM
The problem here is that the assignation of value was not determined by me, but by the economists analyzing the experiment.

Furthermore if you actually bothered to look into these experiments, perhaps you could either provide an understanding of the 'subjective' value or - less likely - acknowledge that you don't know what you're talking about.You won't even give the title of these experiments so there really isn't anything to look up. I have no way of knowing if you are interpreting the results of these alleged experiments correctly or if you are doing what you normally do, which is to use words sloppily when discussing economics. Besides, if the economics' metrics of values were being used and compared, yet it was the participants' actions which resulted in gains or losses, then of course there would be a disconnect.

A small example: even if you tell me what to value in a given experiment, then there's still no guarantee that I will do certain actions as if I value what you have told me to value. If I value what you value, or place value in your perception of my value, then I will behave appropriately. Value is inherently subjective and constantly changing to some degree or another.


For example: I posted a recent experiment where the subject were told that the data in question consisted of completely random coin flips.

The subjects knew explicitly then that the results of said coin flips are completely random and furthermore are 50% either heads or tails.

Yet communication of 'successful tips' via results segregation led to those receiving the segregated successes choosing to subscribe to said service.

Riddle me then the thought process which takes a completely random event - which you know to be random - and then causes you to subscribe to a service which purports to predict the result.(Bold emphasis mine.)
There are plenty of reasons why people would do such a thing. First of all, what was at stake in that experiment? I see that the questionnaire was incentivized at S$0.20 per question, but I can't find the trade-in value of the tokens. Was it also S$0.20 per token? Regardless of what is at stake, do you assume that all participants value the tokens or the money equally? If so, why? All participants were undergraduates evidently, but what was their financial state?

Further, do you understand what other things they could value more than tokens or twenty Singapore cents? Of course you do, you mention it enough. Perhaps they valued simply being alleviated of the responsibility of making the choice. Value is entirely subjective in economics, after all. You can try to say that money, for example, is objectively valued to one degree or another, but if you don't acknowledge that even a given quantity of money can be valued differently by different individuals then you seriously lack a realistic perspective on the human experience.