Being in the right place: A natural field experiment on list position and consumer choice

This paper uses a natural field experiment to better understand the reasons why individuals show a disproportionate tendency to select items placed in the top position of a list. After randomizing the order in which new economics research papers are presented in email alerts and tracking economists' subsequent download activity, we provide evidence of position effects and reject three common explanations regarding item order, choice fatigue and quality signals. Instead, after developing some novel tests based on the user-level nature of our data, we show that three more subtle explanations are consistent with the behavior of different groups of individuals