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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. Simon Gervais & Terrance Odean, . "Learning To Be Overconfident," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 5-97, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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Cited by:
  1. Blanco, M. & Dalton, P.S. & Vargas, J.F., 2013. "Does the Unemployement Benefit Institution Affect the Productivity of Workers? Evidence from a Field Experiment," Discussion Paper 2013-057, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Jean-Louis Rullière & Luis Santos Pinto & Isabelle Vialle, 2011. "Self-Confidence and Teamwork : An Experimental Test," Post-Print halshs-00632091, HAL.
  3. repec:cge:warwcg:177 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. 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.

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