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Is There a “Pessimisticâ€\x9D Bias in Individual Beliefs? Evidence from a Simple Survey

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  • Selima Mansour
  • Elyès Jouini

    ()

  • Clotilde Napp

    ()

Abstract

It is an important issue for economic and finance applications to determine whether individuals exhibit a behavioral bias toward pessimism in their beliefs, in a lottery or more generally in an investment opportunities framework. In this paper, we analyze the answers of a sample of 1,540 individuals to the following question “Imagine that a coin will be flipped 10 times. Each time, if heads, you win $$10\texttt{C}\!\!\!\rule[2.3pt]{.4em}{.3pt}\!\!\rule[3.3pt]{ .4em}{.3pt}$$ . How many times do you think that you will win?â€\x9D The average answer is surprisingly about 3.9 which is below the average 5, and we interpret this as a pessimistic bias. We find that women are more “pessimisticâ€\x9D than men, as are old people relative to young. We also analyze how our notion of pessimism is related to more general notions of pessimism previously introduced in psychology. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Theory and Decision.

Volume (Year): 61 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 345-362

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Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:61:y:2006:i:4:p:345-362

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100341

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Keywords: judged probability; lottery; pessimism;

References

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  1. Philippe Weil, 1989. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Riskfree Rate Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 2829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hartog, Joop & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Jonker, Nicole, 2002. "Linking Measured Risk Aversion to Individual Characteristics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 3-26.
  3. Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Working Papers 1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  5. Andrew B. Abel, 2001. "An Exploration of the Effects of Pessimism and Doubt on Asset Returns," NBER Working Papers 8132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Masako N. Darrough, 2002. "A Positive Model of Earnings Forecasts: Top Down versus Bottom Up," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(1), pages 127-152, January.
  7. Beattie, Jane & Loomes, Graham, 1997. "The Impact of Incentives upon Risky Choice Experiments," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 155-68, March.
  8. Giordani, Paolo & Soderlind, Paul, 2006. "Is there evidence of pessimism and doubt in subjective distributions? Implications for the equity premium puzzle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1027-1043, June.
  9. Clotilde Napp & Elyès Jouini, 2006. "Heterogeneous Beliefs and Asset Pricing in Discrete Time," Post-Print halshs-00151536, HAL.
  10. Douglas Stevens & Arlington Williams, 2004. "Inefficiency in Earnings Forecasts: Experimental Evidence of Reactions to Positive vs. Negative Information," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 75-92, February.
  11. Ritov, Ilana, 1996. "Probability of Regret: Anticipation of Uncertainty Resolution in Choice," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 228-236, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Chatterjee, Swarn & Finke, Michael & Harness, Nathaniel, 2008. "Self-esteem and Individual Wealth," MPRA Paper 20120, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Aug 2008.

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