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Confidence interval estimation tasks and the economics of overconfidence

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  • Cesarini, David
  • Sandewall, Orjan
  • Johannesson, Magnus

Abstract

Experiments 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 Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 61 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 453-470

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:61:y:2006:i:3:p:453-470

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kohei Kawamura (University of Edinburgh), 2013. "Confidence and Competence in Communication," ESE Discussion Papers 222, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  2. Gloede, Oliver & Menkhoff, Lukas, 2011. "Financial professionals' overconfidence:Is it experience, function, or attitude?," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-428, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  3. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00348826 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Johansson Stenman, Olof & Nordblom, Katarina, 2010. "Are Men Really More Overconfident than Women? - A Natural Field Experiment on Exam Behavior," Working Papers in Economics 461, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  5. Andrew Healy, 2005. "How Do People Learn by Listening to Others? Experimental Evidence from Thailand," Experimental 0512006, EconWPA.
  6. Proeger, Till & Meub, Lukas, 2014. "Overconfidence as a social bias: Experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 203-207.
  7. Koellinger, Ph.D. & Treffers, T., 2012. "Joy leads to Overconfidence, and a Simple Remedy," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2012-001-STR, 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 Uni.
  8. Ryvkin, Dmitry & Krajč, Marian & Ortmann, Andreas, 2012. "Are the unskilled doomed to remain unaware?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 1012-1031.
  9. Pavlo Blavatskyy, 2009. "Betting on own knowledge: Experimental test of overconfidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 39-49, February.
  10. Sandra Ludwig & Julia Nafziger, 2011. "Beliefs about overconfidence," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 70(4), pages 475-500, April.
  11. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00348826 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Marian Krajc, 2008. "Are the Unskilled Really That Unaware? Understanding Seemingly Biased Self-Assessments," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp373, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  13. Madiès, Thierry & Villeval, Marie Claire & Wasmer, Malgorzata, 2013. "Intergenerational attitudes towards strategic uncertainty and competition: A field experiment in a Swiss bank," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 153-168.
  14. Glaser, Markus & Weber, Martin, 2005. "Overconfidence and Trading Volume," SIFR Research Report Series 40, Institute for Financial Research.
  15. Simon, Mark & Shrader, Rodney C., 2012. "Entrepreneurial actions and optimistic overconfidence: The role of motivated reasoning in new product introductions," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 291-309.
  16. Marie-pierre Dargnies & Guillaume Hollard, 2009. "Incentives to learn calibration: a gender-dependent impact," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(3), pages 1820-1828.
  17. Markus Glaser & Martin Weber, 2007. "Overconfidence and trading volume," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 1-36, June.
  18. Marion Eberlein & Judith Przemeck, 2008. "Whom will you choose? - Collaborator Selection and Selector’s Self-Prediction," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse12_2008, University of Bonn, Germany.

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