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The Self-Perpetuation of Biased Beliefs

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  • Wing Suen

Abstract

To overcome strong prior beliefs, strong evidence to the contrary is needed. If a person is predisposed to choosing a certain action, the advice from an advisor who sets a low threshold for recommending the alternative action is not of much use. The preference for like-minded advisors who supply coarse information implies that the advice a person receives is likely to reinforce his existing priors. This effect can lead to polarisation of opinion and the emergence of self-serving beliefs. The learning process is prolonged and the induced short run bias can become perpetual if information is costly. Copyright 2004 Royal Economic Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 114 (2004)
Issue (Month): 495 (04)
Pages: 377-396

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:114:y:2004:i:495:p:377-396

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Cited by:
  1. Binswanger, J. & Oechslin, M., 2014. "Disagreement and Learning About Reforms," Discussion Paper 2014-020, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Francesco Sobbrio, 2012. "A Citizen-Editors Model of News Media," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/61, European University Institute.
  3. Ruben Durante & Brian Knight, 2012. "Partisan Control, Media Bias, And Viewer Responses: Evidence From Berlusconi'S Italy," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 451-481, 05.
  4. Peter Wakker & Danielle Timmermans & Irma Machielse, 2007. "The effects of statistical information on risk ambiguity attitudes, and on rational insurance decisions," Natural Field Experiments 00338, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Bøg, Martin, 2006. "Whom to Observe?," MPRA Paper 8773, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 May 2008.
  6. Verheul, I. & Carree, M.A., 2008. "Overoptimism among Founders: The Role of Information and Motivation," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2008-008-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  7. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence from U.S. Daily Newspapers," NBER Working Papers 12707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Agostino Manduchi, 2013. "Non-neutral information costs with match-value uncertainty," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25, May.
  9. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse Shapiro, 2005. "Media Bias and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 11664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Johnson, Noel D. & Nye, John V.C., 2011. "Does fortune favor dragons?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 85-97, April.
  11. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2011. "The Political Economy of Mass Media," CEPR Discussion Papers 8246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Santiago Oliveros & Felix Vardy, 2013. "Demand for Slant: How Abstention Shapes Voters’ Choice of News Media," Economics Discussion Papers 734, University of Essex, Department of Economics.

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