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Rational truth-avoidance and self-esteem

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  • David Andolfatto
  • Steeve Mongrain
  • Gordon Myers

Abstract

We assume that people have beliefs about their abilities that generate self-esteem, and that self-esteem is valued intrinsically. Individuals face two choices; one of which strictly dominates the other in a pecuniary sense, but necessarily involves gathering information concerning their ability. We lay out the circumstances under which an individual may find it rational to reject the dominant choice, an act that, in psychology is described as "avoiding the situation". We then go on to show that the incentive to avoid the truth is increasing in income/wealth and decreasing in self-esteem, the perceived accuracy of one's self-assessment, and the role that luck plays in generating opportunities.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 141-154

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:42:y:2009:i:1:p:141-154

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  1. Gervais, Simon & Odean, Terrance, 2001. "Learning to be Overconfident," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 1-27.
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Cited by:
  1. Akiko Maruyama, 2013. "Learning about one’'s own type: a search model with two-sided uncertainty," GRIPS Discussion Papers 12-24, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
  2. Mariana Blanco & Juan Fernando Vargas & Patricio S. Dalton, 2013. "Does the unemployment benefit institution affect the productivity of workers? Evidence from a field experiment," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 011015, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  3. repec:cge:warwcg:177 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Isabelle Vialle & Luis Santos-Pinto & Jean-Louis Rullière, 2011. "Self-Confidence and Teamwork : An Experimental Test," Working Papers 1126, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.

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