Confidence interval estimation tasks and the economics of overconfidence
AbstractExperiments in psychology, where subjects estimate confidence intervals to a series of factual questions, have shown that individuals report far too narrow intervals. This has been interpreted as evidence of overconfidence in the preciseness of knowledge, a potentially serious violation of the rationality assumption in economics. Following these results a growing literature in economics has incorporated overconfidence in models of, for instance, financial markets. In this paper we investigate the robustness of results from confidence interval estimation tasks with respect to a number of manipulations: frequency assessments, peer frequency assessments, iteration, and monetary incentives. Our results suggest that a large share of the overconfidence in interval estimation tasks is an artifact of the response format. Using frequencies and monetary incentives reduces the measured overconfidence in the confidence interval method by about 65%. The results are consistent with the notion that subjects have a deep aversion to setting broad confidence intervals, a reluctance that we attribute to a socially rational trade-off between informativeness and accuracy.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.
Volume (Year): 61 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo
Other versions of this item:
- Cesarini, David & Sandewall, Örjan & Johannesson, Magnus, 2003. "Confidence Interval Estimation Tasks and the Economics of Overconfidence," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 535, Stockholm School of Economics.
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
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