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An Unlucky Feeling: Persistent Overestimation of Absolute Performance with Noisy Feedback

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Author Info

  • Grossman, Zachary
  • Owens, David

Abstract

How does overconfidence arise and persist in the face of experience and feedback? We examine experimentally how individuals' beliefs about their absolute, as opposed to relative, performance on a quiz react to noisy, but unbiased, feedback. Participants believe themselves to have received `unlucky' feedback and they overestimate their own scores, but they exhibit no overconfidence in non-ego-relevant beliefs---in this case, about others' scores. Unlike previous studies of relative performance estimates, we find this to be driven by overconfident priors, as opposed to biased updating, which suggests that social comparisons contribute to biased information processing. While feedback improves performance estimates, this learning does not translate into improved estimates of subsequent performances. This suggests that people use performance feedback to update their beliefs about their ability differently than they do to update their beliefs about their performance, contributing to the persistence of overconfidence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt0dh5s03j.

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Date of creation: 11 Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt0dh5s03j

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Related research

Keywords: overconfidence; feedback; overestimation; absolute performance; Bayesian updating; biased updating; information processing; learning transfer; cross-game learning; quadratic scoring rule; behavioral economics; experimental economics; Social and Behavioral Sciences;

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Cited by:
  1. Camille Cornand & Frank Heinemann, 2014. "Measuring agents’ reaction to private and public information in games with strategic complementarities," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 61-77, March.
  2. Owens, David & Grossman , Zachary & Fackler , Ryan, 2012. "The Control Premium: A Preference for Payoff Autonomy," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt5bg845s1, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. Noémi Berlin & Marie-Pierre Dargnies, 2012. "Linking Beliefs to Willingness to Compete," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 12075, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  4. Noémi Berlin & Marie-Pierre Dargnies, 2012. "Linking Beliefs to Willingness to Compete," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00755660, HAL.
  5. Camille Cornand & Franck Heinemann, 2013. "Measuring Agents’ Reaction to Private and Public Information in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Working Papers 1341, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  6. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00755660 is not listed on IDEAS

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